When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, it means cancerous cells are present in the prostate, the small, walnut-sized gland that produces seminal fluid. The urologists and oncologists at University of Missouri Health Care are highly experienced in treating this common cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, one in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Most men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer have a very good prognosis and may not even need immediate treatment.

Our team confers with other treatment teams to provide second opinions when a diagnosis of prostate cancer has been given. We work closely with other specialty groups – such as medical oncology and radiation oncology – to develop a comprehensive, personalized treatment plan for each of our patients.

Symptoms of prostate cancer

Most men who have prostate cancer are asymptomatic (have no symptoms). In advanced cases, a man with prostate cancer may have changes in urination patterns (needing to urinate more frequently or having the urge to urinate) or pain from the cancer having spread to the bones (metastasized).

How prostate cancer is diagnosed

If your doctor suspects you may have prostate cancer, he or she will likely recommend the following to aid in diagnosis:

  • Complete physical exam. Your doctor performs a physical examination of the prostate to assess for signs of cancer.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Your doctor may order this blood test, which measures levels of PSA, a protein produced by the cells of the prostate. (See below for more information on this test.)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) facilitated targeted biopsy. Your doctor uses the UroNav Fusion Biopsy System to obtain a biopsy (small sample) of the prostate for analysis. MU Health Care is the only facility in mid-Missouri to offer this leading-edge technology to help diagnose prostate cancer. The UroNav System is especially useful for those patients with previously negative biopsies and abnormal PSA level.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test

The MU Health Care team may use a PSA test for screening and assessment of the prostate. The PSA test may pick up cancer of the prostate before a man ever experiences symptoms.

There are advantages of detection by PSA screening.

  • Cancer is more likely to be localized and responsive to treatment.
  • Earlier diagnosis.
  • More likely to have more treatment options available.

It is important to note many prostate cancer treatments may not help any individual patient and are associated with significant potential for complications. You should talk with your urologist at MU Health Care while weighing the pros and cons of undergoing a PSA test to check for prostate cancer.

Treatments for prostate cancer

MU Health Care offers a wide spectrum of treatment for prostate cancer. The treatment options available to each person depends on the type and progression of prostate cancer, as well as overall health.

The treatments we offer include:

  • Active surveillance. In some cases – especially when the cancer is diagnosed early – patients can delay or defer definitive treatment to avoid the side effects of therapy.
  • Brachytherapy. Also called “seed implant,” this treatment involves inserting radioactive implants directly into the tissue affected by the cancer.
  • External beam radiation therapy. Using intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), this type of radiation is highly targeted at the prostate and spares more of the surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Open or robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. When other treatments are unsuccessful, the prostate may need to be removed, either by traditional (open) surgery or using robotic equipment to assist in the procedure.

We also offer participation in research trials, in combination with medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, for some patients.