Learning About Prostate Cancer

If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is important to take an active part in understanding your disease and making choices about your course of care. The information on this website is designed to educate and empower both you and your loved ones to make informed decisions about your treatment path.  

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer refers to a malignant growth in the tissues of the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Normally the size of a large walnut, the prostate is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the tube through which urine flows. The prostate’s main function is to make fluid for semen, a substance that helps carry the sperm out of the body.

Over time, cells that make up the prostate can become abnormal and grow uncontrollably, resulting in a tumor. Tumors can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Prostate cancer is one of most common types of cancer among American men, second only to skin cancer. Prostate cancer is usually found in men over the age of 65.It is more common in African American men than in any other racial group in the U.S. If your father or brother has had prostate cancer, then you are more likely to develop the disease.

Choosing the Best Treatment for You

A diagnosis of prostate cancer can be frightening, but you have time to think about your options. Most prostate cancer is slow growing and may never cause any problems or symptoms in a man’s lifetime. It is estimated that more than half of newly diagnosed men have low-risk prostate cancer that is unlikely to spread to other parts of the body. For these men, active surveillance – a program of regular and close monitoring of the cancer – may be an appropriate treatment choice. Some men will have high-risk, or aggressive prostate cancer. These men need immediate treatment in the form of surgery, radiation, hormone therapies or other treatments to remove or treat the prostate and to help prevent or delay the spread of their cancer outside the prostate gland.  

Because every man is different and every cancer is unique, it is important to find out the risk of your individual cancer. The Oncotype DX prostate cancer test is a biopsy-based genomic test that, when combined with other measures, can be used to predict the aggressiveness of your cancer, helping you and your doctor decide what treatment is right for you.