Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Diagnosis
Prostate cancer responds well to therapy when detected early, and some men never need treatment at all. Specialists at Maimonides Prostate Center have the expertise and tools to quickly pinpoint the cause of prostate problems and recommend the right approach.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
About one in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime. It’s one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men, second only to skin cancer. Experts aren’t sure why some men develop prostate cancer while others don’t. These risk factors may play a role:
- Age: Your chances of developing prostate cancer go up after you turn 50.
- Ethnicity: African-American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than Caucasians, Latinos and Asians.
- Family history: Having a father or brother with prostate cancer doubles risk.
- Genetics: Inherited gene mutations, including alterations to the BRCA genes often linked to breast cancer, may increase the odds of prostate cancer. Learn more about genetic counseling and testing.
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease that causes few, if any, noticeable symptoms. For this reason, it’s important to have regular prostate cancer screenings. Because screening recommendations vary depending on risk factors, you should talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.
An infection or an enlarged (noncancerous) prostate can often cause symptoms similar to prostate cancer. Occasionally, though, prostate cancer is to blame. Symptoms include:
- Slow or weak urine stream
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Blood in urine or semen
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain in the hips, back or chest
- Weakness or numbness in legs or feet
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
A prompt and accurate diagnosis is key to determining the appropriate care plan for your unique situation. Our doctors use a variety of tools for prostate cancer screening and diagnosis, starting with the least invasive method. These tests include:
- Prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test: This test looks for a particular protein produced by the prostate. It’s the main test used to screen for prostate cancer, and is also used for diagnosis. Depending on your age, an elevated PSA reading suggests a need for additional testing. Infections and enlarged prostates can also raise PSA levels.
- Digital rectal exam (DRE): Your doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for hard areas on the prostate gland that might indicate cancer. Your doctor may recommend adding a rectal exam to your prostate cancer screening.
- MRI-ultrasound fusion-guided biopsy: We typically recommend taking a tissue sample (biopsy) of the prostate after suspicious results from a PSA test or rectal exam. Our advanced imaging approach helps our doctors locate tumors often missed by conventional biopsy methods. The procedure combines MRI and ultrasound images to identify potentially cancerous areas. Your doctor uses this information as a guide for the biopsy.
- MRI: This test uses magnets, radio waves and injectable dye to create a series of detailed images to determine the extent of cancer. During this test, we focus on your comfort. Some imaging centers insert a small device (endorectal coil) into the rectum during MRI. Our specialists use their expertise to complete imaging without this uncomfortable step.
- Computerized tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET): Maimonides was among the first centers in the area to combine CT imaging with PET scans, which use low-dose radioactive dye to pinpoint disease. We use this dual imaging to identify prostate cancer that returns or spreads (metastasizes) after treatment.
Treating Prostate Cancer
Maimonides Prostate Center is the only full-service prostate center in Brooklyn, providing you with access to a full range of treatments. We are the first East Coast center to use approved high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) for gland-sparing treatment. Learn more about prostate cancer treatments.
To make an appointment at the Maimonides Prostate Center, call 718-635-PROS (7767) or request an appointment online.