Prostate Cancer

pros-cancer-1Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men in the United States (excluding skin cancer) and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths (after lung cancer). In 2010, approximately 217,730 men in the U.S. were diagnosed with the disease, and, according to the American Cancer Society, 32,050 are projected to die from the disease this year. As a man gets older, his chances of developing prostate cancer increase, with more than 75% of tumors being found in men over age 65. A family history of prostate cancer may increase the chances of developing the disease, particularly if a brother, father, or paternal uncle was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and especially if the relative was younger than 60 at the time of diagnosis. For a man who is now 50, the probability of being diagnosed with prostate cancer is about 10%. Approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and 1 in 35 will die of the disease.

Prostate cancer is usually curable when detected early which underscores the need for screening. We conduct a number of free prostate cancer screenings around the state. Our goal is to provide awareness and early screening to those who might otherwise not seek care. While some men seek medical attention because they are experiencing symptoms that might indicate prostate cancer (such as frequent urination or an inability to urinate, trouble starting or holding back urine flows, or frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips or upper thighs), most men experience no such symptoms. Hence, for many men, an abnormal finding during a routine screening examination is the first indication they might have prostate cancer. A recent update on PSA screening was published by the American Urological Association suggesting a man should get his first PSA at age 40. An abnormal-feeling prostate and an elevated PSA level (greater than or equal to 4.0 ng/ml) are both possible indicators of the disease.

We offer the most advanced methods for the detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer. For those with an elevated PSA or an abnormal digital rectal exam, our physicians may recommend a prostate biopsy done under ultrasound guidance. Using newer techniques of local anesthesia, our physicians make the procedure as comfortable as possible. The University of Kansas Health System offers state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment including one of the nation’s few combined PET/CT scanners to detect cancer that has spread at the earliest possible stage.

Dr. Jeffrey Holzbeierlein currently provides a high-risk prostate cancer clinic aimed at even more aggressive detection for men with risk factors for developing prostate cancer. The clinic is focused on preventing development of the disease in men with strong family history, elevated PSA at a young age or other clinical risk factors.

Most men are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer (the disease is confined to the prostate). Our physicians will carefully discuss all treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy and watchful waiting (careful observation without further immediate treatment), in terms patients can understand. In the past, surgery and radiation therapy have posed risks of side effects, such as urinary incontinence, sexual potency problems and rectal problems. Fortunately, the experience of our surgeons as well as our radiation oncologists helps to minimize these side effects. Our radiation oncologists offer the latest techniques in radiation, including intensity-modulated radiotherapy, or IMRT, and brachytherapy (radioactive seed implantation into the prostate), which are aimed at providing cancer control while minimizing the side effects.

Our urologic surgeons offer the latest techniques in prostate surgery. We are the only practice in the region where four fellowship-trained cancer experts are performing robotic procedures.

Dr. Brantley Thrasher is a well-known national expert in prostate cancer and is one of the only urologic oncologists in the United States performing radical retropubic, radical perineal and robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy for prostate removal. The perineal approach and the robot-assisted approach have been shown to cause less pain and less blood loss.

Dr. David Duchene is an expert in robotic prostatectomy and other advanced laparoscopy and robotic surgery, and is one of only two fellowship-trained robotic physicians in the Kansas City metro.

Dr. Jeffrey Holzbeierlein and Dr. Moben Mirza perform robotic prostatectomies, robotic bladder and robotic kidney cancer cases.

With a dedicated team of physicians consisting of fellowship-trained urologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists specializing in the treatment of genitourinary malignancies, pathologists and radiologists, we offer comprehensive cancer care to patients with prostate cancer.

Please take a look at why the da Vinci® Surgery may be your best treatment option for prostate cancer, and contact us with any questions.

Recent research (June 2011)
A recent British study analyzed 50,066 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1997 and 2006 from the Thames Cancer Registry, which covers a population of 12 million in South East England. They found 50% of patients died of prostate cancer. In the U.S., approximately 15% of patients were estimated to die of the disease in 2010. Estimates from the U.K., on the other hand, suggest approximately 30% of patients present with advanced disease and, as you can see from the article, about half are dying from the disease long term. Although we in the U.S. have been criticized for over-diagnosing and potentially over-treating the disease, this article speaks volumes for early screening and treatment at a stage when the disease is still curable. In cases where the patients present with disease outside the confines of the prostate, the results are often fatal. The University of Kansas Cancer Center has a high-risk prostate cancer clinic and is currently furthering leading-edge research to help patients with prostate cancer.