Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and second-leading cause of cancer death in men. It is not something that just affects older men, men of a certain race, or men who do not exercise. That is why it is vitally important that all men see their doctor for annual prostate exams and physicals. Through screenings and early diagnosis, you can increase your chance of surviving prostate cancer.

Indiana University Health Cancer Centers offer the latest in prevention, detection and treatment of prostate cancer. Our multidisciplinary team consists of national and international leaders in prostate cancer care and research. You have assurance that our highly skilled physicians, nurses, dietitians, physical therapists, spiritual care chaplains, social workers and pharmacists will work with you and your loved ones to develop the best course of treatment for your illness.

Jump ahead on this page

  1. Prostate Cancer Videos
  2. Prostate Cancer Defined
  3. Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer
  4. Find A Prostate Cancer Specialist
  5. Finding New Ways to Prevent Prostate Cancer
  6. Prostate Cancer Screening

Prostate Cancer Videos

We are home to Indiana's largest network of geographically diverse cancer specialists with expertise in medical, radiation and surgical oncology. With a strong emphasis on translating research to clinical application, IU Health Cancer Centers turn development and participation in cutting edge clinical trials into real results. Whether you are newly diagnosed, or well on the road to recovery, count on IU Health Cancer Centers for the best in prostate cancer care.

Prostate Cancer Defined

The prostate, a small organ that exists only in men, is located just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which carries urine out of the body. Prostate cancer forms from the cells that normally produce prostate secretions, which are important for fertility. Like other cancers, prostate cancer begins when some damaged cells begin to grow out of control. Unlike normal cells, which live for a time and then die in the body's natural renewal process, cancerous cells live beyond their normal life and begin to crowd out healthy tissue. It's important to note that not all prostate cancers are the same. Many grow slowly and do not cause harm, while some grow fast and cause serious health problems or death.

Prostate cancer can cause the prostate to swell and obstruct the urethra, making urination difficult. However, most men that are having urination problems are suffering from non-cancerous enlargement, typically referred to as prostate hypertrophy. In addition, the absence of urinary symptoms does not exclude the presence of prostate cancer. Therefore, it's extremely important to discuss with your physician if you are experiencing urination problems and to have regular screenings, even if you are not experiencing symptoms, to determine your diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer

All men diagnosed with prostate cancer want access to the most advanced treatments available. IU Health Cancer Centers have extensive experience treating all stages of prostate cancer, and offers the most innovative treatment options at one of our IU Health Cancer Centers locations, our IU Health Central Indiana Cancer Center's outpatient locations and the Indiana University Health Proton Therapy Center.

Other specialized options for radiation treatment of prostate cancer include the following:

Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT)

An IGRT technique that uses a limited CT scan prior to a daily radiation treatment to verify targeted internal anatomy in three dimensions before the treatment is delivered. This technique allows extreme precision of targeting the radiation beams.

Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy

Guided by a computer-generated three-dimensional picture of the tumor, allowing the highest possible dose of radiation while sparing the normal tissue as much as possible.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

Advanced radiation delivery that allows delivery of radiation to areas surrounding, or in close proximity to, radiation sensitive tissues. This technique uses a computerized optimization algorithm that allows the radiation oncologist to "paint" the dose around critical normal tissues to more effectively spare them from radiation side effects.

Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

Special equipment is used to precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor and not to normal tissue.

Proton Beam Radiation

Particle radiation treatments using charged particles (protons) that can be used to treat tumors in close proximity to critical radiation sensitive tissues and re-irradiate previously treated tissues. This type of therapy allows the highest probability of sparing normal tissues, and lessens the possibility of second tumors related to radiation exposure.

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Finding New Ways to Prevent Prostate Cancer

IU Health Cancer Centers’ commitment to research and advances in prostate cancer prevention and treatment distinguishes our program from other cancer centers. We perform many clinical trials to test new drugs and other treatments that may be more effective than currently accepted screening, diagnosis or treatments of prostate cancer. Depending on your diagnosis, you may have access to one or more of these trials.

We have also developed extensive research collaborations with researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana University and Purdue University. Through the development of these collaborations, we can bring our patients the best that research and expert clinical care can offer.

More information about cancer research can be found on the IU School of Medicine website.

Prostate Cancer Screening

Getting screened for prostate cancer is as simple as making an appointment with your physician. Prostate cancer can cause blood in your urine, difficulty passing urine or pain during urination. However, most men will never experience any symptoms. Therefore, it is important to receive regular screenings by your physician.

Screening, when performed in conjunction with careful discussion between patient and physician, is recommended in men aged 55 to 69 in alternating years/ every two years.  Men under 55 who have risk factors for developing prostate cancer should discuss the benefits of earlier screening with their physician.  This includes men with a family history of prostate cancer and those of African American descent.  The majority of men over 70, or those with a life expectancy of less than 10 to 15 years, will not benefit from routine screening.

A PSA test is the most common type of prostate cancer screening test, measuring the blood level of PSA, a protein produced by your prostate gland. In general, a higher level of PSA equals a greater chance of developing prostate cancer. However, other factors can cause an elevated PSA level and, more importantly, some men with prostate cancer may not even have an elevated level of PSA. Therefore, it is important to talk to your doctor about your screening options.

If your initial screening shows a possibility of prostate cancer, you may need further testing including biopsy of the prostate tissue to determine if cancer is present.