Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly, and finding and treating it before symptoms occur may not improve men’s health or help them live longer. Explore the links on this page to learn about prostate cancer treatment, prevention, screening, statistics, research, and more.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

  • Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate.
  • Signs of prostate cancer include a weak flow of urine or frequent urination.
  • Tests that examine the prostate and blood are used to detect (find) and diagnose prostate cancer.
  • A biopsy is done to diagnose prostate cancer and find out the grade of the cancer (Gleason score).
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate.

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It lies just below the bladder (the organ that collects and empties urine) and in front of the rectum (the lower part of the intestine). It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland makes fluid that is part of the semen.

Prostate cancer is most common in older men. In the U.S., about 1 out of 5 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Signs of prostate cancer include a weak flow of urine or frequent urination.

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by prostate cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Weak or interrupted (“stop-and-go”) flow of urine.
  • Sudden urge to urinate.
  • Frequent urination (especially at night).
  • Trouble starting the flow of urine.
  • Trouble emptying the bladder completely.
  • Pain or burning while urinating.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • A pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.
  • Shortness of breath, feeling very tired, fast heartbeat, dizziness, or pale skin caused by anemia.

Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. As men age, the prostate may get bigger and block the urethra or bladder. This may cause trouble urinating or sexual problems. The condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and although it is not cancer, surgery may be needed. The symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia or of other problems in the prostate may be like symptoms of prostate cancer.

A biopsy is done to diagnose prostate cancer and find out the grade of the cancer (Gleason score).

A transrectal biopsy is used to diagnose prostate cancer. A transrectal biopsy is the removal of tissue from the prostate by inserting a thin needle through the rectum and into the prostate. This procedure may be done using transrectal ultrasound or transrectal MRI to help guide where samples of tissue are taken from. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

Sometimes a biopsy is done using a sample of tissue that was removed during a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Stages of Prostate Cancer

  • After prostate cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the prostate or to other parts of the body.
  • There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.
  • Cancer may spread from where it began to other parts of the body.
  • The Grade Group and PSA level are used to stage prostate cancer.
  • The following stages are used for prostate cancer:
    • Stage I
    • Stage II
    • Stage III
    • Stage IV

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood:

  • Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
  • Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.

Treatment Option Overview

  • There are different types of treatment for patients with prostate cancer.
  • Seven types of standard treatment are used:
    • Watchful waiting or active surveillance
    • Surgery
    • Radiation therapy and radiopharmaceutical therapy
    • Hormone therapy
    • Chemotherapy
    • Biologic therapy
    • Bisphosphonate therapy

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.