Prostate Cancer

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Prostate cancer affects up to one in seven Australian men by the age of 85. Whilst most men will not die from prostate cancer, it remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths amongst Australian men.

Early detection and treatment can improve survival from prostate cancer.

At Melbourne Urology Centre, our experienced specialist urologists work closely with medical and radiation oncologists, to ensure that our patients have access to all treatment options and a completely personalised, unbiased, multidisciplinary approach to their care.

We understand the sensitive nature of men’s health concerns, including prostate cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment. As such, we offer a completely individually tailored approach.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer develops when the cells of the prostate gland grow abnormally and in an uncontrolled way, resulting in the development of a malignant tumour.

The prostate gland is a small gland found only in males. It sits deep in the pelvis, below the bladder. The urethra passes through it, and as a result, some conditions that affect the prostate result in urinary symptoms. The prostate gland is responsible for producing seminal fluid, which is essential for healthy sperm.

What causes prostate cancer?

There is ongoing research into what exactly causes prostate cancer.  Many environmental and dietary factors have been investigated, however nothing has yet been determined as a definitive causative or preventative factor. There is an association with high testosterone levels.

Prostate cancer is common, and the risk increases with age after the age of 50. A family history of prostate, breast or ovarian cancer (especially BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations) also increases a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. Having a first degree relative with prostate cancer also increases a man’s risk by 2-3 times.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

In the early stages, prostate cancer does not generally cause any symptoms, and it is for this reason that the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand recommend that men who are interested in assessing their prostate cancer risk should see their family doctor for a PSA blood test at age 50 (or at age 45 for those with a family history of prostate cancer).

In men with advanced prostate cancer, symptoms can include difficulty or pain with urination, blood in the urine, and back pain (from spreading – ‘metastasis’- to the bones). It is important to note that urinary symptoms are most often related to enlarged prostate, or BPH.

How is prostate cancer diagnosed?

No single test, examination or scan can accurately and conclusively diagnose prostate cancer on its own. If you are a man over the age of 50 (or over the age of 45 with a family history of prostate cancer), speak to your family doctor about having a check up.

Generally, the first screening test for prostate cancer will be a PSA blood test. This can help to determine your individual risk. From there, your doctor may refer you to a urologist for further evaluation. This can include a digital rectal examination, multiparametric prostate MRIMRI-fusion transperineal prostate biopsy and/or PET PSMA scan.

What happens after a diagnosis of prostate cancer?

It is normal to feel shocked, upset or confused following a diagnosis of prostate cancer.

At Melbourne Urology Centre, our urologists are highly experienced in the diagnosis, management and treatment of prostate cancer. We ensure that all patients have the opportunity to ask all the questions that they have, and seek all the information that they need in order to make informed decisions about their care.  Our dedicated team also includes pelvic floor physiotherapist, specialist erectile dysfunction nurse, perioperative physician and administrative staff who is caring and sensitive to your needs.

Not all prostate cancers are the same, so every diagnosis and the subsequent treatment that follows are tailored to the individual patient.

Generally, depending on the severity of the prostate cancer, the patient’s age and overall health and wellbeing, there are five evidence-based treatment options for prostate cancer:

  1. Active surveillance
  2. Prostate cancer surgery
  3. Radiation treatment
  4. Watchful waiting
  5. Systemic treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

Speak to a specialist urologist about prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The urological surgeons at Melbourne Urology Centre understand that a diagnosis of prostate cancer can be a life-changing event. Our team is here to assist you every step of the way on your patient journey. To assist you in your recovery, we facilitate prostate cancer nurse support, a psychologist, pelvic floor rehabilitation, sexual health management, and other survivorship pathways.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our specialist urologists, please phone our rooms on 1300 702 811 and a member of our administrative team will be happy to assist you.

Written by Dr. Shekib Shahbaz and Dr. Tony de Sousa

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