Prostate cancer detected using a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital examination is almost always treatable. In fact, PSA screening may lead to over-detection and over-treatment. For this reason, most medical societies now agree prostate cancer screenings should not occur without an informed decision-making process.
There are commonly no associated symptoms for prostate cancer, but occasionally men present with difficulty urinating or pain in their bones.
Treatment depends on the age and overall health of the patient and stage of the cancer. There are three general approaches:
No one treatment is best for all patients. Consulting with doctors specializing in this area can help obtain an optimal outcome for the patient’s condition.
Keeping a close eye on prostate cancer, rather than treating it immediately, is increasingly being offered to patients with slow-growing cancers. With observation, which can be more involved (active surveillance) or less involved (also called "watchful waiting"), you can potentially forego the side effects of treatment. Careful monitoring of the cancer includes periodic PSA testing, physical exams and more advanced testing.
Minimally-Invasive (or Laparoscopic) Surgery
Spectrum Health surgeons perform robotic and advanced minimally invasive surgeries that use very small incisions to perform surgery inside the body. By expanding the abdomen with gas, the surgeon has greater ability to see and operate, leading to less bleeding and less pain. Minimally invasive surgeries, either with or without robotic assistance, allow faster recovery times in many cases.
Perineal surgery is an ‘open’ surgical procedure that allows removal of the entire prostate gland, but does not allow nerve-sparing or removal of lymph nodes.
Brachytherapy is a term for radiation delivered inside the body. When used to treat prostate cancer, the surgeon implants a "seed" containing either low dose or high dose radiation into the prostate. It allows more healthy cells to be spared than external radiation.
This less-invasive technique uses ultrasound and very cold gasses to "freeze" the prostate. Nearby nerves may be damaged during the procedure. Not all patients are eligible for cryosurgery.
Prostate MRI Diagnostics
MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging), uses magnets to produce images of organs inside your body. MRI can also be used to identify specific, suspicious areas within the prostate gland. This is a great diagnostic service if you have risk factors or your doctor has recommended further checking for prostate cancer. MRI results let urologists and radiologists target precise areas for biopsy (see UroNav Fusion Biopsy).
This "open" surgery technique involves a four-inch incision made below the belly button. It can be a beneficial technique for nerve-sparing and early stage cancer treatment, but has become less commonly performed than robotic prostatectomy.
The most common treatment for localized prostate cancer. When performed by an experienced physician or one specializing in cancer surgery, the advantages of nerve-sparing robot-assisted surgery include better preservation of urinary and erectile function, as well as shorter hospital stays and recovery period.
A Spectrum Health urological oncologist was the first in West Michigan to use the daVinci® Surgical System to perform prostate cancer surgery. In the more than 10 years since, Spectrum Health surgeons have performed more than 4,800 procedures using daVinci® Surgical Systems at Butterworth and Blodgett hospitals. Robotic, or robot-assisted, surgery allows for more precise surgery and faster recovery times.
UroNav Fusion Biops
UroNav fusion biopsy targets the suspicious areas and can better identify and more accurately characterize prostate cancer when present.