Due to the lack of early symptoms, a physician is usually first to detect prostate cancer during a routine exam.

Prostate cancer, (prostate carcinoma), is a disease appearing in men when cells in the tissues of the prostate multiply uncontrollably. The ensuing mass becomes a cancerous tumor.

  • Typically walnut-sized, the prostate sits right below the bladder, directly in front of the rectum.
  • The prostate encloses the urethra, a hollow tube functioning as the conduit used for urine traveling from the bladder to exiting the body.

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Lacking a definitive cause, prostate cancer's origin remains unclear. However, there is general agreement among experts that diet is an important element and somehow carries a role in prostate cancer's development.

There are additional risk factors that contribute to the chances a man will develop prostate cancer. These risks include, but are not limited to:

  • Race/Ethnicity – African American men have double the risk of Caucasian men to develop prostate cancer, and it is likely to be a more aggressive form.
  • Family history – Families with breast and ovarian cancer history carry a higher risk for prostate cancer. Additionally, a brother or father with prostate cancer, especially when contracted relatively young, heightens a man's risk.
  • Lifestyle – Smoking and a sedentary lifestyle increases prostate cancer risk. Obese men and/or those consuming diets high in fat are more likely to develop prostate cancer at a rate three times higher than other men.
  • Age – The longer a man lives, the greater the chance he will develop the disease.

Some precautions that men may use to deter development of prostate cancer include practicing the following:

  • Maintain healthy weight – Men at a healthy weight should exercise to preserve it. Overweight men can reduce caloric intake while adding exercise to attain a healthy weight.
  • Maintain healthy diet – Diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains are proven to reduce risk of cancer in general, whereas diets high in fat increase risk for prostate cancer.
  • Exercise – Men who do not exercise have higher PSA levels than those who exercise most days of the week.

Signs or Symptoms

In the early and mid-stages, prostate cancer has virtually no symptoms. Late stage prostate cancer has many of the same symptoms associated with BPH (enlarged prostrate) and may be coincidental with co-occurring presence of BPH. These symptoms include:

  • Increased need and urgency to urinate
  • Ability to urinate becomes challenging
  • Urine contains blood
  • Pain, decreased movement and aching in the pelvis, low back, upper thighs, abdomen, and/or hips


A digital rectal examination initially discovers growth possibly related to prostate cancer. Next, a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test measures the levels of PSA in the blood. Increased PSA levels can assist in diagnosing prostate cancer, however, the presence of increased PSA levels is associated with BPH, or enlarged prostate, a non-cancerous condition. Therefore, the new method using biomarkers from urine and blood is a far more definitive diagnostic tool used to detect prostate cancers. The two numbers from blood and urine are called a Gleason score.

The best course of treatment is determined by a targeted biopsy. Using MRI and PET images, the specific prostate areas are identified for biopsy. Treatment may include one or more of a wide range of options. These include therapeutic assistance and interventions that may include robotic and/or standard surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, high intensity focused ultrasound, active monitoring, and medication.

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Thomas E. Ahlering, M.D.
Urological Cancers
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Greg E. Gin, M.D.
Urologic Oncology, Minimally Invasive Surgery
HS Assistant Clinical Professor
Cory M. Hugen, M.D.
Urological Cancers
HS Assistant Clinical Professor
Mark Jordan, M.D., F.A.C.S., F.R.C.S. (C)
Urological Cancers
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David Lee, M.D.
Urology & Prostate cancer
Professor of Clinical Urology
Edward Uchio, M.D., F.A.C.S., C.P.I.
Urological Cancers

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