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Prostate Cancer

Risk Factors, Screening and Diagnosis | Personalized Treatment | Research and Clinical Trials | Additional Patient Support

Next to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.  About one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Unfortunately, cancer spread beyond the prostate and those cases that ultimately cause death have increased over the past several years.

The experienced specialists at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center and the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health at NorthShore University HealthSystem combine the most advanced scientific knowledge and technology with a comprehensive and compassionate approach to care. Drawing from the diverse experience of physicians, surgeons, nurses, researchers and a host of other highly trained healthcare professionals, the Urologig Prostate Cancer Center team works collaboratively to put patients—and families—at the center of a compassionate and high quality healthcare experience.

Patients who are newly diagnosed with early prostate cancer have the added support of a specialized oncology nurse navigator to guide them through their diagnosis and treatment. The nurse navigator works to coordinate all aspects of prostate cancer care including bladder, sexual and psychosocial health.

NorthShore urological surgeons and medical oncologists are among the most experienced in the Chicago area at addressing the needs of all patients with prostate cancer, including those with early and more advanced stages of the disease. Research has shown that significant experience is more likely to result in better outcomes for patients.

Prostate Cancer Screening, Diagnosis and Risk Factors

Prostate cancer is usually asymptomatic in the early stages, making screening all that more important.  Men should have a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and or a digital rectal exam (DRE). Individuals with a family history of the disease, as well as African American men, have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

A PSA test is the most sensitive prostate cancer screening to detect the disease at an early stage. An elevated level of PSA in the blood may also occur because of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), infection or prostatic inflammation. It may also occur following sexual activity, an examination or urological instrumentation. Men with an elevated PSA should see a urologist for further evaluation. We regularly offer these men other blood and urine tests to help determine whether a further work up is required.

While prostate cancer can be suspected based on these tests, a prostate biopsy is needed to make a definitive diagnosis. Often we will obtain imaging studies, including multi-parametric MRI to help make biopsies more accurate. If a diagnosis of prostate cancer is made, clinical information including the PSA, clinical stage and grade of the cancer are all factors considered to guide physicians in creating a personalized prostate cancer treatment plan.

Personalized Prostate Cancer Treatment

Our multidisciplinary team meets regularly in a multidisciplinary conference to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. Your prostate cancer team may include a urologistmedical oncologistradiation oncologist, oncology nurse, medical geneticist, pathologist, nutritionist, pharmacist, sexual health expert, social worker and researchers, all  of whom focus on you. This "meeting of the minds" provides critical input, resulting in an individualized care plan outlining the best prostate cancer treatment plan for your care.

Our multidisciplinary team includes three fellowship-trained urologic oncology surgeons who have extensive expertise in robotic surgery to treat prostate cancer, and who frequently operate together to achieve the best outcomes for our patients.

At NorthShore, patients are educated in a wide variety of prostate cancer treatment options and, in consultation with their physicians, are empowered to choose the treatment choice that is best for them. For early stage disease, these choices may include:

For more advanced stage disease, these choices may include treatment with hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, chemotherapy and the option to participate in innovative clinical trials, which evaluate breakthroughs in prostate cancer treatments.

Through the Mark R. Neaman Center for Personalized Medicine, our oncology experts can also identify genetic variations that increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer and aggressive disease. These variations can help to distinguish those men who may benefit the most from screening. In addition, genetic analysis of prostate cancer tumors can help guide and personalize targeted drug therapies to improve outcomes.

Research and Clinical Trials

At both the NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center and the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health, a full-time research staff dedicated to prostate cancer oversees a variety of clinical trials. These trials provide cutting edge prostate cancer treatments that include novel drugs that target the hormonal system, combinations of chemotherapy and new medications, and new methods of imaging cancer. Several trials are using genetic analysis to personalize treatment. Additionally, NorthShore is home to one of the first and largest prostate cancer active surveillance clinical study in the Midwest.

NorthShore’s has an extensive data warehouse that enables physicians and researchers to integrate molecular and genomics data with clinical data to determine a patient’s best course of prostate cancer treatment. This team has developed an electronic prostate cancer patient database to analyze treatment outcomes in order to develop more efficient clinical pathways to continuously improve patient care. This analysis is yielding new insights into complex diseases and identifying opportunities to improve patient outcomes, as well as addressing the risk factors in individual and family medical histories.

Additional Patient Support

The Kellogg Cancer Center and the Walter Center for Urological Health’s unique combination of services and resources assist patients and family members with a variety of challenges they may face from diagnosis, treatment and beyond. In addition, a wide array of support services are available to patients that include our integrative medicine services, financial advocacy and survivorship, to name a few.

NorthShore has a chapter of the Us TOO Prostate Cancer Support Group that is one of the largest chapters in the Chicago area. This group meets on a regular basis and provides educational programs and support for men with prostate cancer of all stages and their families.

We also offer patients an online prostate cancer educational module called WiserCare that helps educate men and their spouses about prostate cancer treatment options and encourages them to become engaged in the treatment decision-making process.

For More Information

For more information on prostate cancer symptoms, screening and treatment or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 847.570.2112.