Prostate cancer symptoms can include difficulty urinating, frequent urination, blood in the urine or semen, frequent lower urinary tract infections and pelvic discomfort. According to Dr Deleep Kumar Gudipudi, Sr. Consultant-Radiation Oncologist & Clinical Director-Academics (Radiation Oncology), Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad, however, early stages often show no symptoms, making regular screenings important, especially for men over 50 or those with risk factors.
Prostate cancer diagnosis typically involves a combination of methods:
Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): A physical examination where a doctor checks the prostate's size and shape.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: Measures a blood protein produced by the prostate. Normal levels of 0-4ng/ml and Elevated levels may indicate a problem.
Biopsy: Tissue samples are taken from the prostate for analysis to confirm cancer and determine its aggressiveness.
Imaging: Multiparametric MRI or whole-body PSMA PET-CT scans can also be used for staging.
Prostate cancer is staged based on the extent of the disease.
The stages include:
Stage I: Cancer is confined to the prostate gland.
Stage II: Cancer remains within the prostate but may be larger.
Stage III: Cancer has spread beyond the prostate, possibly to nearby tissues.
Stage IV: Cancer has spread to distant areas, like bones or lymph nodes.
More often Risk Stratification is done - Low Risk, Intermediate Risk, High Risk and Very high risk depending on PSA value, Biopsy and Gleason Score and Imaging results.
Active Surveillance: Monitoring slow-growing cancers without immediate treatment.
Radiation Therapy: Using high-energy rays to target and kill cancer cells (Treatment can for a period of 2 weeks to 8 weeks depending on the risk group/stage
With advancements in Radiotherapy ability to deliver radiation with precision is key to minimising side effects and is possible by MRI-guided adaptive radiotherapy on MR-LINAC)
Surgery: Removalhe prostate gland (prostatectomy)
Hormone Therapy: Suppressing hormones that fuel cancer growth.
Chemotherapy: Medications to kill cancer cells or slow their growth in very advanced cancers.
Treatment decisions should be personalised, considering the individual's health and preferences. It's important to discuss options thoroughly with the specialist before the start of treatments
Regular screenings are important, especially for men over 50 or those with risk factors and discussions with a healthcare professional are essential for early detection and proper diagnosis. Prostate cancer when picked up in early stages has cure rates over 90-95%.