Prostate cancer is a cancer that starts in the prostate gland.
At North Shore-LIJ Health System, the physicians are not just treating prostate cancer. They are finding the right treatment for each patient. Treatment starts with each individual patient and includes the doctors working together to personalize the best approach. The health system offers every treatment option available for prostate cancer, including no treatment at all, thanks to its active monitoring program. More importantly, the doctors have the most experience treating prostate cancer on Long Island, many with national and international reputations. Also, patients have full access to the comprehensive clinical resources available through the entire integrated health system, for whatever their health needs may be.
North Shore-LIJ takes an advanced approach to treating prostate cancer. The specialists at multiple locations work together - and with the patients - to plan the most effective course of prostate cancer treatment using the latest research-backed therapies available.
Highlights of prostate cancer treatments and services include:
- Minimally invasive robotic surgery performed by specialized surgeons, which grants patients quicker recovery, less pain and scarring, and faster recovery
- The latest radiotherapy techniques for prostate cancer, including stereotactic radiation therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and HDR brachytherapy
- Focal therapy with cryotherapy, brachytherapy or laser ablation
- Clinical trials of new therapies for prostate cancer
Second Opinions and Multidisciplinary Consultations: A Special Program
North Shore-LIJ Health System wanted to create a single place where patients could get all the information they need to make informed decisions about their treatment. A specialized program within the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Center, the Center for Prostate Cancer allows patients to meet with both a urologist and a radiation oncologist at the same time to go over their options, instead of being seen separately. The truly multidisciplinary approach is intended to give the patient and his family a better understanding of the condition and treatment options while reducing fear and frustration.
Multidisciplinary Prostate Cancer Treatment
The Prostate and Genitourinary Cancer Center treats a wide range of prostate cancer cases each year — including localized and metastatic prostate cancers. Within the first several days of a visit to the center, the team conduct comprehensive tests and develop a personalized prostate cancer treatment program.
Each diagnosis is unique, so the team meets regularly to discuss patient treatment during weekly teleconferences where prostate cancer physicians share ideas and best practices for delivering collaborative patient car. The prostate cancer specialists review each treatment phase to constantly improve cancer care and ensure treatment milestones are reached.
Warning signs of prostate cancer are often detected during routine annual exam screenings. Patients also may experience specific symptoms of prostate cancer such as:
- Trouble urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in the urine
- Blood in the semen
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Bone pain
Be aware that these symptoms could be due to conditions other than prostate cancer, so it’s best to see a doctor right away.
The first step to prostate cancer diagnosis is usually a physical exam. A doctor will also consider medical history, prostate cancer risk factors and any related medical or precancerous conditions. If a doctor suspects that a patient might have prostate cancer, he will receive further tests.
Specialists use a number of procedures and tests to deliver an accurate prostate cancer diagnosis as well as to determine the stage of the cancer (how far the cancer has spread), including:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE) — This is usually the first step in determining prostate health and is often done as part of routine screening, such as an annual physical.
- PSA blood test — Checks for high levels of PSA, a substance (protein) made by the prostate that may indicate the presence of conditions such as prostate cancer.
- Transrectal ultrasound — A finger-sized probe is inserted into the rectum and sound waves provide a picture of the prostate and measure its size. Images may reveal tumors, calcifications and prostate enlargement.
- Prostate biopsy — A probe is inserted in the rectum and removes a small tissue sample from the prostate for further examination. This tissue allows a doctor to stage the cancer and determine an appropriate treatment plan.
- MRI / ultrasound fusion-guided biopsy — This revolutionary new approach for prostate cancer diagnosis is currently in clinical trials. It provides high-tech images of 100 percent of the prostate. This complete view gives the most accurate diagnosis possible and helps a doctor determine the best course of action for treating prostate cancer.
Stages of cancer of the prostate are defined by the digital rectal examination, PSA level and the Gleason score. The Gleason score is a number assigned by the pathologist that rates the cancer from six to 10 according to its aggressiveness. The higher the number, the more aggressive the cancer may behave. A patient’s treatment team will carefully review the Gleason score, prostate cancer stage as well as medical and family history and other factors. Based on this comprehensive information, the team will develop a customized prostate cancer treatment plan.