Prostate Cancer Chattanooga TN
The urologic surgeons and oncologists at UT Urology offer state-of-the-art technology, compassion and hope for prostate cancer patients in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Alabama and northern Georgia. Our providers are leading participants in many cancer research projects and clinical trials offering treatment options you may not find elsewhere.
Currently, we are the only urology team in the region participating in the AQUA Prostate Cancer Registry, an international collaboration through the American Urology Association, for the betterment of prostate cancer treatment. We can help patients in their battle against this terrible disease.
The Prostate Gland
The prostate is a male reproductive gland, located in front of the rectum, below the bladder. The prostate’s job is to secrete prostate fluids that make up the semen. Just behind the prostate gland are the seminal vesicles that make other fluids that protect and nourish the sperm. The urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body, runs through the prostate.
For most men prostate cancer is slow-growing and is diagnosed at an early stage when they have the most treatment options. In fact, most men with prostate cancer die from other causes, not from their prostate cancer. If cancer is detected before it spreads, the 5 year survival rate is almost 100%. When the cancer has spread beyond the prostate to other parts of the body, more critical treatments are needed.
Who is at Risk of Prostate Cancer?
In the U.S. 17% of men are at risk of developing prostate cancer. The cause of prostate cancer is not known, but there are things that can increase your risk of developing it.
- Before age 40, it is relatively rare. After 50 the risk increases. Over age 65, 6 in 10 men will develop prostate cancer.
- Family history. A first degree relative, like your brother or father diagnosed with prostate cancer significantly increases your risk.
- Race and ethnicity. African American men are more likely than white men to develop prostate cancer, and they are more likely to die from the disease.
- Obesity and sedentary lifestyle raise your risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer has few, if any symptoms. More advanced prostate cancer symptoms include:
- Problems with urination
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain in the spine and other bones
- Blood in the urine
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
However, these symptoms can be caused by many benign conditions as well.
How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
- The PSA Test. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in American men, and the PSA test is currently the only blood test available. The PSA test measures blood levels of a protein made by the prostate gland. The higher the level, the more likely there is a need for further investigation.
- The Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) is a physical exam of the prostate and allows the doctor to feel lumps and other abnormalities.
- Transrectal Ultrasound/sonogram of the prostate.
- Prostate biopsy and microscopic examination of the prostate tissue resulting in a Gleason score, which helps grade the tumor for aggressiveness.
- CT scans, MRI, X-rays and bone scans will also help grade the tumor.
Results from these tests will help identify whether the cancer is contained inside the prostate gland or has spread to other parts of the body. This is important to determine the appropriate treatment.
Staging and Grading Prostate Cancer
Staging indicates the extent of the tumor and how far the cancer has spread. It is based on the results of the PSA test, the DRE, and the Gleason score from a biopsy of the prostate tissue.
Grading is based on how the tissue looks under the microscope, and indicates how likely the tumor may grow and spread.
Prostate Cancer Treatments
Treatment options depend on the grade, stage of the disease and the patient’s age.
- If the cancer is slow- growing and confined to the prostate gland, you may be advised to undergo Active Surveillance. This means careful monitoring with PSA tests, DREs, and ultrasounds at regular intervals. Sometimes additional biopsies may be recommended as well.
- Radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of the prostate gland when the tumor has been classified as aggressive. In the early stages, it may provide a cure and reduce the risk of recurrence. It can be performed by open surgery or robotic/laparoscopic surgery with or without sparing of the nerves, depending on your specific cancer. Nerve-sparing prostatectomy is designed to preserve sexual function.
- Our urology specialists offer the da Vinci® It is a robot-assisted, minimally invasive surgery that enhances vision, precision and control for removal of the prostate following early diagnosis of prostate cancer.
- Radiation therapy can be accomplished outside the body or internally with radiation beads implanted in the prostate gland (brachytherapy).
- Cyrosurgery (freezing the prostate gland cells) is an alternative to prostatectomy where the patient does not want radical prostatectomy or is not a candidate for that surgical technique. It destroys the entire gland and some surrounding tissue.
- Hormone therapy is used to stop production of male hormones. If the prostate tumor does not respond to hormonal therapy it is called hormone-resistant. In this case, chemotherapy may be a good option.
- Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) may be used to relieve symptoms of BPH or the prostate tumor, or for men who’s tumor is confined to the prostate gland and cannot have a prostatectomy.
Any of these options can be combined for the best result.
UT Urology is a regional leader in urology, providing care to the people Chattanooga, Tennessee, Alabama and Northern Georgia. We offer state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and cutting-edge solutions for your prostate cancer treatment. We have multiple fellowship-trained and general urologists who can assist with care, compassion and excellence.