Helpful Information for Patients
What is Prostate Cancer?
When cells in your body gain the ability to divide uncontrollably, they may form a large mass of tissue known as a tumour. A tumour that forms at the prostate can enlarge it and cause symptoms that are similar to BPH. Additional symptoms include blood in the urine, weight loss or loss of appetite. Prostate cancer occurs when the cells from a tumour spread to other parts of the body, forming new tumours where it reaches. To determine if the enlarged prostate is cancerous, your doctor will have to perform a PSA blood test and a prostate biopsy.
What will my urologist do to check if I have Prostate Cancer?
Your urologist will do a Digital Rectal Examination (DRE) to feel if your prostate is normal or if there is a abnormal lump. A PSA blood test will be done to see if it is elevated beyond normal and perform a bedside ultrasound to have a look at the prostate. Occasionally an MRI scan may be helpful and when indicated, suggest that a prostate biopsy be done to check for cancer cells.
What is PSA?
This is a blood test that measures the level of PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) in your blood. It is produced only by the prostate and is a normal functioning protein that is important in semen. When its levels are too high, it may suggest the presence of Prostatitis, Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or Prostate Cancer.
Biopsy of the Prostate
A transrectal ultrasound-guided (TRUS) prostate biopsy may be done by your doctor to obtain tissue samples of your prostate. This can be done under local anaesthesia or sedation under ultrasound guidance. Your doctor will then push the needle into the prostate to obtain the samples. Another biopsy procedure that may be done is known as an MRI
fusion prostate biopsy. You will have to undergo an MRI scan so as to obtain an MRI image of the area around your prostate. This MRI image will then be overlaid onto the real-time ultrasound scans during the biopsy and allows your doctor to specifically obtain samples from areas of the prostate that appear abnormal.
How is Prostate Cancer treated?
The treatment of prostate cancer will depend on the nature of the cancer when it is diagnosed and will be determined by your doctor. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy or bone targeting agents.
A common surgery performed for prostate cancer is Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy (RALP). Your surgeon will control a robotic device from a console and perform a procedure that removes cancerous prostate . The use of robotic devices provides more precision, reduces the amount of bleeding and pain, and therefore speeds up recovery time. The precision allow options for bladder neck and nerve sparing techniques to preserve erectile function and early continence recovery.
Other Prostate Conditions
The discomforts associated with BPH could also be caused by other conditions. During the examination of the prostate or during surgical procedures, if there is a good reason to suspect that the enlargement is an abnormal occurrence, your doctor may send some samples of your prostate tissue for further testing in a procedure known as a biopsy. Other routine tests as mentioned above such as the blood test like PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) and urine tests, can also pick up other causes of prostate enlargement.