The medical term for a cancer that starts in the gland cells is called adenocarcinoma. Other types of cancer can also start in the prostate gland, including Sarcomas, Small cell carcinomas, Neuroendocrine tumors and Transitional cell carcinomas. These types of prostate cancer are very rare so chances are if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer it is likely to be an adenocarcinoma.

Some prostate cancers can grow and spread fairly quickly, but most grow slowly. Some autopsy studies have shown that older men who have died of other causes have had prostate cancer that was never detected and never affected them during their life.

Sign & Symptoms

Early prostate cancer usually comes with no symptoms at all. However, more advanced prostate cancer and sometimes cause symptoms, such as:

  • Difficulty passing urine - this includes a slow or weak stream or the need to urinate more frequently.
  • Blood in urine
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain in the hips, chest and back, or other areas from cancer that has spread to the bones.
  • Weakness in the legs or feet.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control due to the cancer pressing on the spinal cord.

Screening Tests and Examination

Treated in its earliest stages, prostate cancer can be cured. Early detection through regular screening is essential. The entire screening takes less than 5 minutes. It consists of a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE).

PSA is a substance made by the normal prostate gland. Elevated or rising PSA levels may be a signal that there is something wrong with the prostate. Cancer is not the only cause for elevated PSA levels. Infection, recent sexual activity, and benign prostate hyperplasia can all affect the PSA level. Your physician will evaluate and track your level of PSA and the rate at which the level changes over time. A "normal" but quickly rising PSA level may suggest a need for further study.

The DRE is a physical exam that checks for abnormalities on the surface of the prostate. Prostate cancer may appear as a "nodule" or an unusually firm texture of the gland. Sometimes prostate cancer is apparent only upon rectal exam, even when the PSA test is normal. This is no time for men to be squeamish! Both PSA and DRE are recommended for adequate cancer screening.


Prostate Cancer Screening Locations

Primary Care Offices

Your primary care physician will usually screen men for prostate cancer according to cancer guidelines, using Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) testing and digital rectal exams.

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Diagnosis

While the PSA and DRE screening tests can suspect cancer, the actual diagnosis can only be made with a prostate biopsy by a urologist. A biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of the body tissue is removed and then examined.


Treatments

With the detection of prostate cancer while it is still localized (has not spread past the prostate), combined with improvements in technology, chances of recovery have improved dramatically. Today, men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer have a number of options for treatment with high likelihood of cure.

Prostate Cancer treatments may include:

  • Expectant management or active surveillance
  • Surgery
  • Radiation oncology
  • Cryosurgery
  • Hormone therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Vaccine treatment
  • Bone-directed treatment

These treatments are generally used one at a time, although they may be combined in some cases.

Factors such as age, health conditions, and stage of cancer should be taken into consideration before choosing a treatment option. Talk to your Urologist about what treatment and recovery options are best for you.

It's important to discuss the side effects of each treatment option with your specialists before undergoing any type of treatment so you have a plan in action to cope with them. Ask your doctor what to expect in regards to urinary control, sexual function, returning to work and participating in athletic activities.

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Xofigo® Injection for Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer at Image Guided Radiation Therapy

If prostate cancer has spread to your bones, you should ask Image Guided Radiation Therapy about Xofigo®.

Xofigo® is used to treat prostate cancer that is resistant to other medical and surgical treatments that lower testosterone. The medical term for this condition is castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Xofigo® can be used to treat castration-resistant prostate cancer to help slow the spread of your cancer.

Xofigo® is FDA approved. It is an injection that contains the radiactive material radium 223. Radium and calcium have similar chemical properties, since it goes to areas in your bones that are growing quickly (just as calcium does). When you have prostate cancer that has metastasized (or spread) to your bones, this causes your bones to grow and Xofigo® to go to that area. The radiation from Xofigo® is a strong treatment, but only travels short distances. This means the radiation is deadly to the cancer cells, but the damage to nearby healthy cells is limited.

Over the course of your therapy, you will get a total of 6 intravenous injections of Xofigo® – one injection every 4 weeks. The injection will be given over 1 minute. After treatment, you will be able to leave our office and go about your daily activities. You don't have to be concerned about radioactivity around your loved ones. There are no restrictions regarding contact with other people following your treatments. Radioactivity is primarily eliminated when you go to the bathroom.

Xofigo® has been studied in clinical trails with 921 with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. In addition to the other medication they were taking, some of the men in the study were given Xofigo®. Others were given an injection that did not contain an active drug. The men who received Xofigo® lived significantly longer (median Xofigo® treated patient had overall survival of 14.9 months versus 11.3 months in placebo treated patients).

Xofigo® can be absorbed by organs other than the bone, primarily the bone marrow and digestive system. So, there are potential side effects that should be discussed with the radiation therapists at Image Guided Radiation Therapy.

Most health insurance plans cover Xofigo® injections, including Medicare. Xofigo® Access Service can help determine if your insurance plan covers this treatment.

Call Image Guided Radiation Therapy to discuss if this option is a viable one for you. We are here to help support you and the people who care for you, and are happy to consult with you regarding your options.

For important risk and use information about Xofigo®, please see the full Prescribing Information available at xofigo-us.com.

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