September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men in the US, other than skin cancer.
What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms. Men who have prostate cancer can be symptom-free for years. But as it grows, prostate cancer can cause some symptoms. Men should see a health care provider if they:
- Have to urinate often, especially at night
- Have trouble starting or stopping urine flow
- Have a weak or slow urine flow
- Have blood in the urine or semen
- Feel frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or ribs
Conditions other than prostate cancer could cause these symptoms. But the only way to know what’s causing them is to see a health care provider.
HIFU Prostate Cancer Facts
What do I need to know about the American Cancer Society® prostate screening guidelines?
The American Cancer Society recommends that men talk with a health care provider so they can make an informed decision about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after a man has gotten information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer testing.
- Men 50 and older, at average risk, and who are expected to live at least 10 more years should talk to a provider about testing and decide whether it is right for them.
- At 45, men at higher risk, such as African American men or men with a close family member (father, brother, or son) who had prostate cancer before they were 65, should talk to a health care provider about the benefits and limitations of screening, and decide whether screening is right for them.
- At 40, men with more than one close family member with prostate cancer at a young age (before they were 65) should have this talk.
If, after talking to a health care provider, a man decides to be tested, it should be done with a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test. The provider might or might not put a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate gland (called a digital rectal exam or DRE).
The talk about testing should be repeated periodically, as men’s circumstances and preferences can change over time.
Prostate Cancer: Should you get tested?
The PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test can help find prostate cancer early, but it isn’t always easy to decide if you should be tested. Talk with a health care provider to decide if testing is the right choice for you. Here’s some information that is helpful for you to know going into the discussion:
- Prostate cancer will probably be found earlier if testing is done than if no testing is done. But researchers don’t know for sure if routine prostate cancer testing helps save lives. Research shows that finding prostate cancer early (when it’s small and hasn’t spread) will help prevent some men from dying of the disease. But this is not true for all prostate cancers.
- Testing is not perfect. Testing might not find all prostate cancers, and sometimes testing suggests that a man has prostate cancer when he does not.
- Each prostate cancer is different. Many grow slowly and are not likely to be harmful. Men with these prostate cancers probably need no treatment. Others grow quickly, and can cause serious health problems or death, and do require treatment. At this time, there’s no easy way to tell which type a man has, so some men get treatment when they don’t need it. And prostate cancer treatments can have serious side effects, including problems with urinary, sexual, and bowel functions.
The American Cancer Society® recommends that men learn all they can about the uncertainties and possible risks and benefits of prostate cancer testing so they can talk with a health care provider and decide whether to be tested. Men should not be tested until they have this information.
This talk about testing should take place at age 50 for men who are at average risk for prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
This talk should take place starting at age 45 for men who are at high risk for prostate cancer. This includes African American men and men who have a close relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer when they were younger than 65.
This talk should take place at age 40 for men at even higher risk – those with more than one close relative who had prostate cancer before age 65.
Visit cancer.org/prostatecancer or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 for more information.
What is High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)?
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound, or HIFU, is an FDA approved therapy that destroys tissue with rapid heat elevation, which essentially “cooks” the tissue. Ultrasound energy, or sound waves, is focused at a specific location and at that “focal point,” the temperature raises to almost 90 degrees Celsius in a matter of seconds. Any tissue at the “focal point” is destroyed; however, any tissue outside of the focal point remains unharmed.
HIFU has produced oncological results that are broadly comparable to standard therapies and HIFU is the only non invasive prostate cancer therapy that does not use ionizing radiation11, which can be potentially harmful.
About Dr. Lazar
Dr. Michael Lazar, a Santa Rosa urologist and prostate cancer expert, 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.
“I invite you to contact me at my office in Northern California to begin discussing your prostate cancer treatment options.”
Call (707) 546-5553, or fill out our contact form.