Torrance Memorial’s Hunt Cancer Institute is committed to delivering prompt diagnosis and optimal treatment, tailored to individual needs, as well as providing practical and emotional support to men with prostate cancer and their families.
Our patients benefit from our multidisciplinary approach, in which our experienced team meets regularly to discuss treatment and progress with your primary care physician, urologist, pathologist and other specialists involved in your care. We offer state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment technologies, including robotic prostatectomy using the da Vinci Surgical System, and a wide range of clinical trials.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Because it affects the male reproductive system, prostate cancer only affects men. It begins and grows in the prostate gland and usually grows very slowly. In fact, most patients with prostate cancer die of other causes. Even aggressive cases of localized prostate cancer can be cured with surgery or radiation therapy.
Age is the single most important risk factor for prostate cancer, which effects mainly older men. Four out of five cases are diagnosed in men over age 65, but less than 1% in men under 50. Beside age, other risk factors of prostate cancer are:
- Race/ ethnicity
- Family history
- Gene changes
- Workplace exposure (for instance, firefighters are at higher risk for prostate cancer)
- Inflammation of the prostate
- Sexually transmitted infections
Signs & Symptoms
In its early stages, prostate cancer has no symptoms. As prostate cancer grows, it may bring the following signs and symptoms:
- Problems urinating, including a slow or weak urinary stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night.
- Blood in the urine
- Trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer spread to bones
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord.
Other conditions can also cause many of these same symptoms. For example, trouble urinating is much more often caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) than cancer. Still, it’s important to tell your doctor if you have any of these problems so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
The best way to detect prostate cancer in its early stages is with regular digital prostate (rectal) exams and prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood tests.
Committed to leading edge cancer diagnostics, Torrance Memorial offers digital prostate exams and PSA blood test for those concerned about having prostate cancer or who want to be monitored actively.
Since it frequently has no symptoms, most prostate cancers are first found during an annual physical exam or screening. A PSA blood test may provide indicate the possible presence of prostate cancer or a physician may detect it with a digital rectal exam (DRE). In this test, a gloved, lubricated finger is inserted into the rectum to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate, which may be signs of cancer.
A higher than normal PSA test result or abnormalities discovered during the DRE may lead your doctor to order a prostate biopsy to find out whether the cancer really exists.
Prostate cancer diagnosis is usually done with a core needle biopsy. In this test, the doctor quickly inserts a thin, hollow needle through the wall of the rectum into the prostate. Many patients prefer to have the area numbed with a local anesthetic prior to the procedure, which takes approximately 10 minutes.
At the forefront of prostate cancer treatment, Torrance Memorial’s specialists offer advanced, personalized treatment for each patient. Depending on its stage, treatment of prostate cancer may include a single therapy or some combination of surgery, radiation therapy and hormone therapy. This may include:
- Expectant management (watchful waiting) or active surveillance
- Prostatectomy Robotic Surgery
- Brachytherapy (radioactive seed implants)
- Cryosurgery (cryotherapy)
- Hormone therapy
- Vaccine treatment
- Bone-directed treatment