Types of Prostate Cancer: What You Need to Know

Prostate cancer is a complex disease. It is not easy to predict how any particular prostate tumor will grow, or how rapidly it will spread to areas outside the prostate. After a prostate cancer diagnosis, your urologist will assess various factors to determine the level of risk associated with the disease. Understanding the risk level—low, intermediate or high—will help you and your doctor make decisions to achieve the best survival rate and quality of life.

Types of prostate cancer

While there are many types of prostate cancers, urologists first divide them into two categories—aggressive and indolent—to begin determining the best treatment.

1. Aggressive prostate cancer

Dr. Scott Sellinger of Tallahassee, FLAggressive prostate cancer is the type that grows rapidly, spreads fairly early, quickly and widely, and causes massive body damage. Since it spreads swiftly via secondary deposits, it quickly becomes advanced stage cancer and is very difficult to treat, particularly during the later stages.

For aggressive high-risk prostate cancer, treatment is most effective when it begins while the tumor is still in its early stages. Without early treatment, the cells of the tumor remain highly active, multiplying rapidly. The tumor grows swiftly, spreads rapidly and causes widespread damage.

2. Indolent prostate cancer

Indolent prostate cancer is the type that grows very slowly and is unlikely to spread to areas outside the prostate. Therefore, it is a low-risk, low-volume tumor that can exist in the prostate for several years without causing significant problems. Even if left untreated, it is unlikely to spread outside the prostate; and if it spreads, it only does so slowly and locally.

How are high-risk and low-risk prostate tumors identified?

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor will monitor the disease periodically to see if it is growing and spreading. The primary way for monitoring the growth and spread of the tumor is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level in blood. PSA is produced by the prostate and reaches the bloodstream; but larger amounts of PSA in the bloodstream are usually a signal that the prostate is enlarged, infected or malignant.

For instance, the PSA doubling time—the time it takes for a patient’s PSA level to double—predicts how aggressive the cancer is. The faster the PSA level doubles, the more aggressive is the cancer. Likewise, the PSA velocity helps to predict the aggressiveness of a tumor. If the PSA level increases sharply, then the cancer is likely aggressive.

Urologists also use the Gleason score to detect how fast the cancer is growing and spreading. This score is obtained by grading cells in the tumor on the basis of how abnormal or normal the cells look under the microscope. The two most abnormal areas of the tumor are evaluated, each given a score from 1-5, and then the two numbers are added. The higher the score (typically 6 or more), the more aggressive the tumor.

While immediate treatment is called for with aggressive, high-risk tumors, a patient can live with an indolent, low-risk tumor for 20-30 years without the cancer causing any serious effects. For the slow growing tumor, we may recommend observation or a watchful waiting called active surveillance, where we monitor the growth and spread of the tumor without medical intervention.

At Advanced Urology Institute, we offer a wide range of treatment options for prostate cancer, including chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. But before we can recommend any treatment, we try to determine the risk of advanced disease. For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

BPH Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition in which the male prostate gland interferes with the outflow of urine from the bladder. It is the most common prostate problem for men 50 and older. BPH is caused by an enlarged prostate that blocks the flow of urine. The enlarged prostate pinches the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body.

The symptoms of BPH are similar to what happens when you step on a running hose. The hose becomes pinched, blocking the flow of water and weakening the stream coming out. People dealing with BPH will have trouble starting to urinate and a weak urine stream. They will strain to urinate, with the flow stopping and starting several times. Another major symptom is frequent urination. Frequent, strong urges to urinate often disrupt sleep and everyday life. This is the symptom that brings men to their urologist.

Dr. David Harris of Fort Myers, FLOnce an appointment is made with the urologist, doctor and patient can begin discussing symptoms and the diagnostic process. If the patient’s complaints are consistent with BPH, the urologist will proceed with a prostate exam. There are also other simple, non-invasive tests that can be completed at the urologist’s office that will indicate the patient’s urine flow and ability to empty his bladder. More sophisticated testing is available if additional data on the patient’s BPH issue is needed. For example, fiber optic scope evaluations give the urologist the most detailed picture of the patient’s BPH, which can then be used to devise the best treatment plan.

Treatment for BPH depends on many factors. For some men, mild symptoms can be managed with slight lifestyle changes and without medical intervention. For men with more severe symptoms, there are a variety of treatment options available. Oral medications can help relax the muscles around the prostate to allow easier urine flow. In serious cases, when medication is not enough, there are surgeries that can treat BPH. One cutting-edge option, that is less invasive than surgery and carries fewer side effects than medication, is Urolift. This minimally invasive procedure implants a stint in the urethra that opens the flow of urine and minimizes the symptoms of BPH.

BPH is a common medical issue that affects men and impacts their lives. As Dr. David S. Harris explains, “In general, many of our guys can tell you every bathroom from Lowe’s to Publix.” Living with BPH means having to plan their lives around the frequent and urgent need to urinate. The urologists at the Advanced Urology Institute work closely with patients to find the best way to solve their BPH-related issues.

Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a health challenge that many men will face in their lifetime. What makes prostate cancer unique is the many forms it can take, with each form requiring a different treatment method and affecting men differently. According to board certified urologist Dr. Brian Hale, “Prostate cancer is extremely common and most men with prostate cancer will probably never have a problem from it.”Prostate cancer is so common that up to 80% of men who live to age 80 will have some form of it. Fortunately, for most of these men the illness will not be terminal. However, prostate cancer is still deadly enough to be the second leading cause of death for men in the United States. In other words, prostate cancer is often harmless; but when it isn’t, it can be deadly. This makes a proper and timely prostate cancer diagnosis essential.

Dr. Brian Hale of Palm Harbor, FLFor many men, their prostate cancer will not be aggressive and the symptoms will be manageable. In these cases, urologists rely on active surveillance as the best first treatment option. Rather than risk possibly harmful treatments on a non-aggressive cancer, the urologist will monitor the cancer with routine checkups. Other treatment options will be considered if the cancer becomes more aggressive.

If the prostate cancer is aggressive and immediate treatment is needed, urologists and their patients have a wide range of treatment options to choose from. The treatment option that works best will depend on a number of factors such as the cancer’s size and growth, and the patient’s age and health. Surgery to reduce the size of the cancer is often preferred for slow growing cancers. For more aggressive cancers, urologists may choose chemotherapy or radiation to kill the cancer cells as quickly as possible.

Although there are many possible causes of prostate cancer, there are certain factors that are known to raise the risk of its occurance. The first risk factor is age. As men get older, their likelihood of developing prostate cancer increases. African-American men have a greater genetic risk for developing an aggressive prostate cancer, while family history and obesity are also factors.

Early detection is the key to a successful treatment. Because prostate cancer is age related, it is recommended to most men that they begin having annual prostate checkups at age 50. African-American men and those with a family history of this cancer should be checked annually starting at age 40. Life saving screenings and successful treatments of prostate cancer happen every day at the Advanced Urology Institute, where trusted urologists like Brian C. Hale, MD guide their patients from diagnosis to recovery.

Immunotherapy for Cancer

Immunotherapy

Cancer comes in many forms and choosing the right treatment options depends heavily on the patient, their health, and the type of cancer present. For patients with metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body from where it started), chemotherapy has been a long-standing choice. However, for some patients, immunotherapy is the more effective treatment with fewer side effects.

Immunotherapy works by working with the patient’s body. The human body is designed to fight against infections and diseases, including cancer cells that grow and spread unchecked as they avoid the body’s natural defenses. Immunotherapy boosts the natural immune system, making it more effective in fighting cancer cells. It helps the body identify which cells should be left alone and which cells are cancerous and need to be attacked and eradicated. Immunotherapy utilizes the immune system to better recognize and target cancer cells, even after treatment has ended.

Dr. Amar Rava of Palm Harbor, FL l discusses ImmunotherapyOne of the biggest benefits of immunotherapy is its less severe side effects. Chemotherapy is known for its harsh side effects that can be devastating to patients. Side effects such as severe fatigue, hair loss, nausea and vomiting diminish quality of life for cancer patients. While immunotherapy is not without its side effects, most patients find that muscle aches, shortness of breath and headaches are easier to endure.

Immunotherapy can be used to treat many types of cancers. Urologists have been using it to treat bladder and prostate cancers, and typically for patients who have asymptomatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer. Having more treatment options for prostate cancer—the most common form of cancer found in men—means a successful outcome is more likely.

Immunotherapy is less toxic than chemotherapy and its less intense side effects allow for a better quality of life for patients with prostate and bladder cancer. According to Dr. Amar J. Patel, Board Certified Urologist, immunotherapy is also shown to increase life expectancy for cancer patients by up to three months. Advance Urology Institute achieves better outcomes for patients by utilizing all of the tools available in the fight against cancer, including the patient’s very own immune systems. For more information about immunotherapy, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

I’ve got prostate cancer. Now what?

Being diagnosed with prostate cancer is a painful reality that can happen to any man. As Dr. Paul Arnold states, “Being diagnosed with prostate cancer is a very alarming, shocking, and scareful diagnosis.” A patient diagnosed with prostate cancer may experience a flood of thoughts, emotions and questions. For men recently diagnosed with cancer, the first step to a successful outcome will be having a trusted urologist answer questions and suggest treatment options.

Men recently diagnosed with prostate cancer will find there are many treatment options available to them. A trained and experienced urologist will be able to offer a number of treatment options tailored to their patient’s specific cancer type and circumstance. In some cases, when a cancer is not aggressive, a urologist may recommend staying away from treatment and instead monitor the cancer with the patient using active surveillance.

In cases where the cancer is more aggressive and the patient is healthy, a urologist may recommend surgery. Depending on how far the cancer has spread, the surgery could remove the entire prostate or just the prostate tissue where the cancer is found. In some cases, robotic surgery can be used for more precise procedures that cause less pain and quicker recovery times. Some of the common side effects of surgery are bladder incontinence and erectile dysfunction, although both usually go away with time.

Radiation therapy is an option for older patients, those who have other health problems, and patients who may have difficulty recovering from a surgery. For this treatment, radiation is used to kill the cancer cells. It also targets cancer that may have spread to bone. Although effective, the side effects of radiation therapy can be strenuous.

One newer option for prostate cancer treatment is High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). This is a cutting-edge treatment option has been approved by the FDA since 2016 with exciting success. HIFU works by sending intense ultrasound waves directly to the area of the prostate that has cancer cells and these waves destroy the cancer cells. This is a minimally invasive treatment option with few side effects; however, only certain sizes and types of cancers can be treated in this way.

The fear and uncertainty caused by a cancer diagnosis is serious. Fortunately, experienced urologists at Advanced Urology Institute can help men find treatment options and guide them through this difficult time. For more information about prostate cancer, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Advancement in Prostate Cancer Biopsy

Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer found in men. The likelihood of it forming in the walnut-shaped prostate organ increases with age. Luckily, there have been many major advances in how prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated. When it comes to diagnosing, board-certified urologist Dr. Jonathan Jay says, “First we must define where it is, how much of it exists within your prostate, and then what its behavior is like.”

Answering the where, how, and what is key to determining the type of prostate cancer and how to watch or treat it. Urologists are using advanced technologies to answer these questions. Urologists want to know how aggressive a cancer is when determining how aggressively they need to treat it. They can use a molecular biopsy and a high-quality T3 MRI to pick up on aggressive cancers. If an aggressive cancer is found, urologists can perform a more focused biopsy.

Dr. Jonathan Jay - Naples, FLThis focused biopsy is called a GPS Guided Biopsy and it has some very important advantages over a regular biopsy. The cancer may exist in a very small portion of the prostate, especially early on. This small cancer can be missed during a biopsy just by a sampling error, leading to a diagnosis that may not give a completely accurate picture of the cancer. But with a high-quality MRI, a guided biopsy can pinpoint the growth and the urologist can detect and determine the type of cancer with greater accuracy.

When the cancer is detected with greater accuracy, the urologist can now follow it more closely and understand what type the doctor and patient are dealing with. The urologist can perform a biopsy on the cancer to look at and understand its genetics. If the genetics show that it is not very aggressive or growing, then the urologist may decide to watch the cancer, as treatment may not be necessary. MRI’s and patient follow up can be used to watch the growth to see if there are any changes that may require more aggressive treatment.

Along with MRI’s, the cancer can be monitored with rectal exams and prostate-specific androgens (PSA) tests. These tools offer insight into the patient’s specific prostate cancer and its progression. If it becomes aggressive, the urologist can recommend surgery or radiation therapy.

A diagnosis is the beginning of a patient’s cancer treatment. At the Advance Urology Institute, urologists like Dr. Jonathan Jay utilize recent advancements in prostate cancer biopsies to provide their patients with the most accurate diagnosis and best treatment options.

Prostate Cancer Types of Treatment

Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer men face. According to board certified urologist Dr. Arash Rafiei, “One in nine men will have prostate cancer in their lifetime.” Although somewhat common, not all cancers in the walnut-shaped prostate gland are the same. Every case of prostate cancer is different and affects men differently. Urologists work with their patients to find the most effective treatment option based on each patient’s individual needs.

Dr. Arash Rafiei: Urologist in Orange City, FLUrologists will consider their patient’s health, age, and the type cancer when deciding how to proceed. For some cases, the best treatment is none at all. When a patient has slow growing prostate cancer that is not spreading, a urologist may suggest holding off on treatment while monitoring the growth through routine appointments. The cancer needs to be taken seriously and watched closely, but invasive treatment is not always necessary for the patient’s health.

When treatment for the prostate cancer is needed, there are two main options: radiation and surgery. Both options offer the same level of prostate control and urologists will discuss the pros and cons of each with their patients. For surgical options the urologist may suggest a radical prostatectomy or robotic surgery. Both are well-tested invasive options that produce very good patient outcomes.

Radiation therapy is another common cancer treatment option. The radiation is centered on the prostate to kill cancer cells. The radiation will also kill some healthy cells as well, causing side effects. This is a non-invasive option that, like surgery, has its pros and con that a patient and doctor will want to discuss. Follow-up appointments to determine if the cancer responded to the treatment will also be necessary.

In addition to radiation and surgery, there are also some newer options that can be utilized in prostate cancer treatment. For instance, cryotherapy uses very cold temperatures to kill cancerous tissues and cells in the prostate by freezing them. There are also treatments using intense ultrasound waves centered on the prostate to destroy the cancer cells. These procedures are newer and there is less data on when they are the most effective, but they are options to consider.

All cancer is serious and can be a stressful and frightening prospect. Having a dedicated urologist who will listen and suggest the best treatment for each patient is key to success. Whether the best option is observation, radiation, surgery or a newer procedure, the Advance Urology Institute is a team of dedicated urologists with an array of treatment options for their patients.

How the Prostate Changes As You Age

For the early part of men’s lives, their prostate is an organ that they never notice. The walnut-shaped reproductive organ located just below the bladder does its job without causing any interruptions in their daily lives. However, this changes as men age. Beginning around age 40, their prostates begin to grow. According to board-certified urologist Dr. Billy Vanasupa, “There’s no rhyme or reason, it just does.”

The rate of growth is different for everyone. The prostate will grow faster in some men than in others. In some cases, the enlarging prostate can cause problems immediately for a man in his early 40s. In other cases, men may be in their 80s or 90s before they begin to see the effects of a growing prostate. Most commonly though, men in their late 50s and early 60s begin to experience urinary issues that begin slowly and increase in severity.

Some of the most common issues are the slowing of the urine stream, pushing to urinate, having to go back to the bathroom 10-15 minutes after urinating, feeling like the bladder may not be fully emptied, and having to get up frequently at night to go to the bathroom. All the symptoms can be associated with the frequent and sudden urge to use the bathroom.

These symptoms are a sign that it is time for a man to see his urologist. The symptoms will only increase in severity without treatment as the prostate continues to grow. The urologist will begin by helping a patient understand what is causing the issue, using a diagram to show where the prostate is and how it presses on the urethra as it grows. The enlarging prostate makes it difficult for urine to pass through the urethra on its way out of the body.

Treatment begins with medication to help with urination. These medicines help slow the growth of the prostate and relax the muscles around the bladder to make urination easier. A urologist also will do a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer. Not all cases of prostate enlargement are connected to cancer growth, but it is important to screen for the disease as a precaution.

Men’s bodies change in many ways as they age, and the prostate is no exception. Urologists at the Advanced Urology Institute focus on making sure their patients understand how their bodies are changing with age and how they can work with their urologist to stay in the best shape. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

HIFU Procedure for Prostate Cancer Treatment

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a cutting-edge technique used to remove tissue from the prostate. This treatment has been used to treat prostate cancer in some cases. Depending on the patient, the size of the prostate and the type and grade of the cancer, it can be an excellent alternative to other treatments. According to Dr. Paul Arnold, HIFU treatment gives patients the “best chance to retain erections and your continence.”

HIFU may seem complicated, but it is a fairly simple procedure. Imagine being a child using a magnifying glass to catch the sun and using that light to burn a small hole in a piece of paper. This is similar to how HIFU works, only HIFU uses sound waves instead of sun rays. The doctor aims the sound waves at the cancer cells in the prostate and uses the heat triggered by the HIFU to kill the cancer cells.

Dr. Paul Arnold from Palm Harbor, FLThe procedure takes from one to four hours and is very noninvasive. The doctor requires the patient to fast for about six hours before the surgery and performs an enema to make sure the bowels are empty for the procedure. The patient gets a simple catheter put in for urine collection during the procedure, and anesthesia is administered.

The doctor starts the procedure by inserting an ultrasound device into the patient’s rectum. The ultrasound uses waves to gather and build an image of the prostate. This image will guide the sound waves to the cancerous cells. Sound waves are then sent through the the wall of the rectum and into the targeted areas of the prostate where they destroy the cancer cells.

Once the procedure is over, patients are generally allowed to leave as soon as the anesthesia wears off. HIFU stands out as one of the treatments with few side effects. Patients initially may experience trouble getting an erection and may experience urinating issues as well as leakage between bathroom trips, but these side effects are temporary and will subside. There are also risks of urinary infections that your urologist will monitor with you.

HIFU is a game-changing tool in the treatment of prostate cancer. Doctors like Paul Arnold, MD at the Advanced Urology Institute are embracing these new technologies to achieve the best outcomes for their patients. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.

Screening for Prostate Cancer – Dr. Brian Hale

Urologist Dr. Brian Hale recommends that men over 50 years old be checked regularly for prostate cancer. It is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men and it increases in likelihood as men age. Tests such as the PSA can help detect prostate cancer in its early stages when treatment is most effective.

The most common way to screen for prostate cancer is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The PSA test is simple and works like this: Both cancerous and noncancerous prostate tissues create protein, and small amounts of that protein will enter the bloodstream. Prostate cancer cells produce more proteins than noncancerous ones, so if cancer cells are present there will be an increase in the proteins in the blood. The PSA test works by checking the blood for increased protein levels.

Dr. Brian Hale: Board Certified UrologistThere are pros and cons to PSA screening for prostate cancer. PSA tests can show increases in proteins when cancerous tissue is not actually present. This is called a false positive and can cause a great deal of stress for the patient and lead to more invasive tests that may not be necessary. For these reasons, among others, PSA tests were not recommended to patients for a period of time.

A few years after PSA tests stopped being recommended, Dr. Hale began noticing a troubling trend. He began seeing an increasingly large number of patients with prostate cancers that had metastasized, which is when it spreads to other parts of the body. This happens when prostate cancer goes undetected and has time to grow untreated. Dr. Hale noticed a correlation between the time PSA screening stopped being recommended and the up-tick in cases of fast-growing and metastasized cancers.

Because of this finding, Dr. Hale recommends that men continue PSA screening as part of their preventative care. Although it may not be a perfect test, its pros far outweigh its cons. Prostate cancer, when caught early is far easier to treat, and can often be treated with less extreme methods. Prostate cancers that have metastasized can be trickier and far more expensive to treat. Although some men may not like blood tests, it is better to take a simple blood test and catch an issue early than it is to let prostate cancer spread and turn into a much more serious medical problem.

As you age, it is important to take care of yourself and see the right doctors to discuss what is best for you. Dedicated urologists like Dr. Brian Hale at the Advance Institute of Urology have been discussing these issues with their patients for many years and will continue looking out for them. For more information, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.