Prostate cancer treatment & diagnosis

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men, but early diagnosis and treatment can mean a positive outcome for many. Most often, there aren’t any symptoms during early prostate cancer, as the cancer develops you may experience changes in your urination flow, urgent needs to urinate, and blood in your urine or semen.

Chapter 1

Diagnosis

Common diagnostic tests for prostate cancer include imaging scans and pathology tests such as:

  • Digital rectal examination (DRE)
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
  • Transrectal ultrasound scan
  • Biopsy

You may also have further tests to find out more about your cancer, where it’s located and which treatments are likely to be most effective. Some of these tests are also used to assess how well your treatment is working.

Find your nearest GenesisCare center to find out what diagnostic tests and scans are available in your local area. Whatever your outcome, our expert team will support you throughout your treatment journey.

Chapter 2

Active surveillance

Depending on your prostate cancer prognosis, you and your physician may choose not to treat your tumor at all. If you’re diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer that is growing very slowly, your doctor may monitor your condition and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) levels every three to six months. If your PSA levels start to increase, or you develop other prostate cancer symptoms, you can opt to undergo treatment.

Chapter 3

Surgery

We work with expert teams of prostate surgeons who are specially trained in radical prostatectomy – the surgical removal of the prostate gland and some of the tissue surrounding it. There are different procedures used for prostate cancer surgery and your surgeon will recommend the most appropriate one for you depending on how advanced and fast-growing your disease is.

Open surgery

This is also known as an open prostatectomy and it is the removal of the prostate gland and nearby tissues through long incisions. Your surgeon may make a cut from your lower abdomen to the pubis (retropubic prostatectomy), or in the perineum – the skin between your scrotum and anus (perineal prostatectomy). You may be recommended open surgery if your cancer is still contained within the prostate.

Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical approach. Your surgeon will make five or six small incisions around your lower abdomen and a slightly one cut near your belly button, the prostate will then be removed. Laparoscopic surgery is also only recommended if your cancer is still contained within the prostate and your surgeon may perform it by hand or with the use of robotic-assisted equipment called the da Vinci® surgical system.

Chapter 4

Radiation therapy

At GenesisCare we specialize in advanced radiation therapy techniques that are designed to be effective and minimize the side effects you’ll experience. As the largest radiation oncology provider in the U.S. and a global leader in cancer care, our broad experience and world-class expertise means we offer advanced and innovative radiotherapy as standard.

Our latest-generation machines are built to deliver highly targeted radiation beams, often meaning radiation therapy can be delivered in a shorter amount of time—so you can spend more time doing the things you love. The accuracy of these treatments, together with the expertise of our teams, helps our patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

The type of prostate cancer treatment your radiation oncologist recommends will depend on your diagnosis, if the cancer has spread to other parts of your body, your general health and personal preferences.

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer

External beam radiation therapy (EBRT)

At GenesisCare our prostate cancer treatments include external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), where radiation is delivered from outside the body, and internal radiation therapy (IRT), where the radiation dose is given via a source implanted within the body.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)

IMRT is an advanced external beam radiation therapy technique where the beams of radiation are precisely shaped to exactly match your tumor and damage to adjacent healthy tissues is limited.

Surface-guided radiation therapy

SGRT uses sophisticated 3D camera technology to help your radiation therapy care team to position you for treatment more accurately each day, without the need for permanent tattoos. The technology also monitors any unintended movements to might make during the treatment and will pause the radiation until you are back in the correct position.

Volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT)

VMAT is an advanced form of IMRT that directs beams of radiation in an arc across the treatment area. Together with SGRT, it’s possible to very accurately target areas of cancer, adjusting the beam and intensity of radiation dose to allow for movements in the body and avoid tissues nearby.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT)

SBRT uses extremely focused, high-energy radiation beams to destroy tumors in fewer treatment sessions than VMAT, sometimes five or less. It’s often used as an alternative to surgery.

Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is an internal radiation therapy that delivers radioactive pellets to the tumor site through small plastic tubes called catheters or an implant. This is usually done in one session and can either be removed after 20 minutes (HDR brachytherapy) or stay in the prostate over months (LDR brachytherapy).

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Chapter 5

Medical oncology

At GenesisCare, we offer various drug therapies and a wide range of the latest anti-cancer drugs for prostate cancer treatment, including hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

Hormone therapy

Many prostate tumors need a hormone called testosterone to continue to grow. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer works by blocking testosterone from binding to the cancer cells, or preventing your body from producing testosterone, which slows down their growth. Common types of hormone therapy for prostate cancer are:

  • LHRH agonists – stop your body from producing testosterone by blocking the messages from the brain to the prostate
  • Anti-androgens – stop testosterone from reaching the cancer cells
  • Orchiectomy – the removal or part-removal of the testicles to stop the production of testosterone

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy refers to drugs that destroy cancer cells and it’s most often used to treat prostate cancers that have spread other parts of the body – this is called advanced or metastatic prostate cancer.

Chapter 6

Advanced disease

If prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it’s called advanced or metastatic prostate cancer. There are various treatment options for advanced prostate cancer at GenesisCare and our goal is to deliver exceptional treatment and care in a way that enhances every aspect of your cancer journey.

Palliative radiation therapy

Palliative radiation therapy does not aim to cure advanced prostate cancer, but is used to help shrink, slow down the growth, or control your symptoms to give you a better quality of life. Most people don’t need long courses of palliative care, it might be anything between one and ten treatments. However, it’s not suitable for everyone. Your primary care physician is the best person talk with about the best way forward for you.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can be used to shrink and slow down the growth of the tumor. Its sometimes used alongside other treatment methods such as hormone therapy to manage locally advanced (cancer that has spread to the areas surrounding the prostate) and advanced prostate cancers. You may need between five and 10 sessions, but this can vary. Our expert team will advise you of the best treatment schedule for your needs.

Chapter 7

Why choose GenesisCare?

People choose GenesisCare so they can access the latest technologies, effective treatments and personalized care that’s tailored to them without delay.

Cancer treatment and care is constantly evolving and we offer the world’s latest evidence-based treatments that have been shown to benefit patients. By working together closely, our multidisciplinary teams of oncologists, surgeons, radiation therapists and other healthcare specialists provide care that’s focused on you, not just your cancer.

We know that for many people, cancer is a life-changing experience and our goal is to help you through it in the most positive way possible. That’s why as well as offering exceptional cancer treatments, we also provide you with support and resources for your cancer journey—including advice about nutrition and exercise, expert help for managing side effects and information on local support groups.

Designing better care​

Our centers are conveniently located throughout the United States, and each location has a dedicated Office Financial Counselor on hand to help you with your paperwork and answer your questions. We accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare Part B, which covers physician services, including radiation therapy.