For this month’s awareness campaign Urologist and Prostate cancer expert Dr. Michael Lazar provides an overview of prostate cancer screening options, helping to empower men to make smart choices.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month giving light to a very important health topic among men and their families. Second only to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the USA and the second most common cause of cancer related death, lung cancer taking the number one spot. Currently it is estimated that one man in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
How Prostate Cancer differs from other cancers
Most prostate cancers tend to grow slowly, and don’t cause overt health problems for many men who have received a diagnosis. In certain situations, prostate cancer can be managed conservatively, especially in elderly men.
“Of course, prostate cancer is a serious health issue,” says Dr. Lazar. “But contrary to what you might think, the vast majority of prostate cancer patients do not die from the disease.” According to the American Cancer Society more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive today.
Who is at risk?
The highest risk groups for prostate cancer are men over the age of 50, African-American men, and men who have a father, brother or son who has had prostate cancer. The benefits of screening for prostate cancer is a hotly debated issue, and a most likely a decision made best on an individual basis. But for those who are concerned about prostate cancer and anyone in the high-risk group, the more obvious option may be to get screened early and at regular intervals.
To screen or not to screen
There are two schools of thought when it comes to screening for prostate cancer and no golden rule for men to follow coming from the experts. Those who advocate regular screening believe that finding and treating prostate cancer early offers a better chance of a cure, while the other school of thought recommends against regular screening because most prostate cancers grow very slowly and the side effects of over-treatment can be too onerous for an otherwise healthy man to bear.
While the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test remains an important tool in the diagnostic process, men over 40 should discuss screening with their physicians to determine if it is right for them. As early treatment options continue to improve, for some men knowing early may give them an opportunity to make a well-informed choice that they might not have otherwise.
Prostate Cancer Therapy Options
There are many treatment options available today including;
- active surveillance
- radiation therapy
- surgery to remove the cancerous gland
- freezing (cryotherapy)
- hormonal therapy for very elderly patients
- high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
All of these treatment options can be effective under the right circumstances, and many of them have side effects that most men would prefer to avoid, if possible. The last option, HIFU is perhaps one of the most exciting non-invasive prostate cancer treatment options today – with few to zero side effects in many cases. The key to success is early detection, and swift treatment.
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)
HIFU is a FDA approved precise and targeted therapy that reduces the risk of complications caused by surgery and radiation. HIFU uses ultrasound energy, or sound waves, to heat and destroy specifically targeted areas of tissue. During HIFU, the sound waves pass through healthy tissue without causing damage. At the focal point of the sound waves (like a magnifying glass focusing the rays of the sun to burn a leaf), the tissue temperature is raised to 90 degrees Celsius, destroying the targeted tissue.
Dr. Lazar, a Santa Rosa urologist and prostate cancer expert, is a recognized leader in the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for prostate cancer. He has been successfully treating patients with HIFU since 2007.
“HIFU may not be appropriate in every situation, but it is most effective for men who have early stage, localized prostate cancer that has not spread or metastasized outside the prostate,” says Dr. Lazar.
About Dr. Lazar and California HIFU
Dr. Michael Lazar is the only Northern California physician recognized as a leader in the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for prostate cancer. He has been successfully treating patients with HIFU since 2007. Dr. Lazar formed California HIFU in order to offer minimally invasive prostate cancer treatment to men with the Sonablate.
For more information about HIFU treatment which is now available in San Francisco, or to make an appointment call: (707) 546-5553. Visit us online to learn more.