Screening and Treating Prostate Cancer

One in eight.

That is how many men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.  According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men and almost 2,090 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Nevada this year.

There are several risk factors associated with prostate cancer, including family history, race, diet, etc., but the most common factor is age.  Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men.  About six in ten cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40.  The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.

While prostate cancer is common and it has numerous risk factors, there are also good survival statistics associated with the disease.  Two of the reasons why survival rates are very high for prostate cancer is because there are several screening and treatment options.

Like with all cancers, one of the ways you can reduce your risk for prostate cancer is by getting screened.  Screening tests can help find cancer at an early stage before symptoms appear.  When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat or cure.  By the time symptoms appear, the cancer may have grown and spread, making the cancer harder to treat or cure.  The earlier doctors can detect changes in tissue, the better the chances of removing a cancer with few complications.

There are two primary means of screening for prostate cancer.  Along with the digital rectal exam (DRE), in which a physician inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to examine the prostate for irregularities, a PSA blood test is the leading method of screening for prostate cancer.  The test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood.  PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and noncancerous tissue in the prostate, a small gland that sits below a man’s bladder.  For the test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis.  The results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood.

Thanks to advancements in research and treatment methods, men diagnosed with prostate cancer have more options and resources available to them than ever before.  It is important for men to learn about the various risks and benefits of each option to make the right decision for them.  Current prostate cancer treatment options include surgery, external beam radiation therapy (EBRT, also known as intensity-modulated radiation therapy or IMRT), brachytherapy, or stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT).

One treatment option that has been proven successful for prostate cancer, and the one that Reno CyberKnife chooses for its patients, is the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  At Reno CyberKnife, men diagnosed with prostate cancer are treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) by the CyberKnife System.  CyberKnife is a painless, nonsurgical prostate cancer treatment technology in which high-dose radiation is delivered to the tumor from a linear accelerator mounted on a highly maneuverable robotic arm.  Hundreds of different angles enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy.  This precision reduces treatment time to just five outpatient visits, compared to the average 45 visits conventional radiation therapy requires.

In addition to shorter treatment time, patients choose CyberKnife treatment for several other benefits including no anesthesia or hospitalization required, little to no recovery time which allows for an immediate return to daily activities, few (if any) side effects, and minimal radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.

Reno CyberKnife supports prostate screening because early detection is one of the most important factors to surviving cancer.  We also encourage men to explore all available options when it comes to treating their prostate cancer.  Survival rates for prostate cancer are very high and millions of men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today.

“Many men with prostate cancer do not die from their disease, but it can be very serious in some,” said Jonathan Tay, M.D., radiation oncologist at Reno CyberKnife.  “Most who are treated continue to live normal, healthy lives.”

To learn more about how Reno CyberKnife treats prostate cancer with CyberKnife technology, please click here.