Prostate Cancer: Symptoms, Screening and Diagnosis
About Prostate Cancer
Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. It is most commonly found in men over the age of 65. At NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore), our experts in medical oncology, urology, surgery and radiation oncology have established the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health to offer men the full range of options and help them navigate the treatment and symptom management process.
The major risk factors for prostate cancer include genetic, dietary and environmental factors that affect male hormones and make a man more susceptible to this cancer. Some evidence has suggested that heredity may play a role in prostate cancers. Men with a family history of the disease have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can vary, but may include:
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Frequent urination (especially at night)
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain or a burning sensation while urinating
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- A pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn't go away
Other conditions may cause similar symptoms, so they do not automatically indicate that a man has prostate cancer. For this reason, it is important to make an appointment with your doctor if these symptoms occur to determine their cause and appropriate treatment.
Prostate Cancer Screening & Diagnosis
An elevated Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) is the most sensitive test to detect early prostate cancer. PSA is a protein that is made almost exclusively by the prostate. An elevated level of PSA in the blood may also occur because of benign prostatic enlargement or prostatic inflammation. Men with an elevated level of PSA in the blood should undergo biopsies of the prostate to determine whether or not they have prostate cancer.
Once a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the Gleason score indicates how aggressive prostate cancer appears under the microscope. While the Gleason score indicates the aggressiveness of a prostate cancer, stage refers to the amount or volume of tumor present and whether or not the cancer has spread beyond the prostate to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
NorthShore physicians and the team at the Kellogg Cancer Center work collaboratively and are dedicated to putting patients and families at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, high-quality care.
Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. Your team may include your medical oncologist, surgeon, radiation oncologist, nurse, genetics counselor, pathologist, nutritionist, interventional radiologist, and researchers focused on you. This meeting of the minds provides each patient with an individualized care plan to create the path for the most optimal outcome. Our approach emphasizes open communication, collaborating with each other personally and through one of the most advanced electronic medical records systems in the country.