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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. The American Cancer Society estimates about 233,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed this year, and that approximately one man in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

The experienced, collaborative team of specialists at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center and the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health at NorthShore University HealthSystem combines the most advanced scientific knowledge and technology with a comprehensive and compassionate approach to care, creating a program of personalized medicine and patient-centered care for each individual diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Drawing from the diverse experience of physicians, surgeons, nurses, researchers and a host of other highly trained healthcare professionals, the Urologic Prostate Cancer Center team works collaboratively and is dedicated to putting 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. They interact with physicians at the Kellogg Cancer Center to ensure seamless transition of care when appropriate.

The medical oncologists within the Kellogg Cancer Center work closely with the urological team within the Walter Center for Urological Health to provide integrated prostate cancer treatment and access to the full range of services a patient may require. 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. Physicians at the Kellogg Cancer Center collaborate with colleagues at the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health when appropriate.

Prostate Cancer Screening, Diagnosis and Risk Factors

Prostate cancer is usually asymptomatic in the early stages, which is why men need to be screened for this type of cancer with a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and or a digital rectal exam (DRE). Men with a family history of the disease, as well as African American men, have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

An elevated PSA is the most sensitive prostate cancer screening to detect the disease at an early stage. PSA is a protein that is produced almost exclusively in the prostate. An elevated level of PSA in the blood may also occur because of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), infection or prostatic inflammation, and may also occur following sexual activity, an examination or urological instrumentation. Men with an elevated PSA should see a urologist for further evaluation. Most men who have an elevated PSA are found on further evaluation not to have prostate cancer.

While prostate cancer can be suspected based on these tests, a prostate biopsy is needed to make a definitive diagnosis. 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

Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets 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 each patient.

Our multidisciplinary team includes two fellowship-trained urological 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 in prostate cancer tumors and offer targeted drug therapies to patients 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. Furthermore, NorthShore is home to the largest prostate cancer active surveillance clinical trial in the Midwest. 

This vital research enterprise allows our patients access to the latest drugs and prostate cancer treatment options, as well as a wide array of clinical trials, both at NorthShore and through the University of Chicago, where more than 800 of our attending physicians hold academic appointments. NorthShore's team of physicians and scientists are active participants and leaders in regional and national research, academic and advocacy organizations.

NorthShore’s nationally recognized Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system offers a 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 of physicians and researchers has developed an electronic prostate cancer patient database that will be used 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.

NorthShore also offers 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.

NorthShore is the first in the nation to provide our patients and their family members with Health Heritage, a secure tool that helps individuals create a complete family health history and personalized risk reports.

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.