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Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in American men after skin cancer. And it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, according to the American Cancer Society. The good news is that the survival rate for prostate cancer is improving, likely because the disease is being detected earlier.

The prostate is a gland that makes a secretion called prostate-specific antigen or PSA. The PSA thins the ejaculate, or semen, which allows it to flow more freely. The prostate also contains enzymes that change testosterone to a form more easily used by the body.

All the staff and doctors in the urology department were absolutely incredible. I really got the sense that everyone cares about what they’re doing.

Michael's story More patient stories
Michael Brien

Prostrate cancer: Risk factors

There is no specific cause of prostate cancer that we know of, but researchers have identified some major risk factors, including:

  • Age – A man’s chance of getting prostate cancer increases after age 50. Nearly two out of three prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.
  • Race – Prostate cancer is more common among black men. Prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian-American and Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites.
  • Family history – Men with immediate family members who have had prostate cancer are more likely to get it themselves, especially if the relatives were young at the time of diagnosis.
  • Diet – Men who eat a lot of red meat or have a diet high in fat may have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who eat fewer fruits and vegetables may also be at a higher risk.

Prostate cancer: Screening

There is no surefire way to prevent prostate cancer. However, annual screenings are the best way to detect the disease in its early stages, as prostate cancer has no symptoms until the advanced stages. As with any cancer, treating the disease early increases your chances of survival.

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends that men have yearly screenings beginning at age 45. Screenings should consist of a digital rectal exam as well as a PSA blood test. If either of these tests is abnormal, a prostate biopsy is performed to detect prostate cancer.

Video: Recommendations after you've been diagnosed with urologic cancer

UF Health Jacksonville urologist and chair of the Department of Urology, K.C. Balaji, MD, gives recommendations for patients diagnosed with urological cancer.

Prostate cancer: Treatments

Prostate cancer that is clinically localized or has not spread outside the prostate can be treated the following ways:

  • Radical prostatectomy – Removal of the prostate. This may be performed in a minimally invasive way, such as laparoscopically or using a robot, or through a traditional, larger incision.
  • Radiation therapies – External beam (radiation focused on the prostate from outside the body) or brachytherapy (radioactive seeds placed in the prostate through the skin) are options. One form of external-beam radiation — proton therapy — allows for highly precise targeting of the radiation, thus lowering the risk of damage to healthy tissue surrounding the prostate. This means better quality of life for patients undergoing proton therapy prostate cancer treatment and less risk of side effects.
  • Cryotherapy – The prostate is frozen and rapidly thawed using needles placed through the skin.

For patients who have prostate cancer that has already progressed outside of the prostate, medications are available that limit the body’s production of, or ability to, use androgens (hormones that help prostate cancer growth). For prostate cancers that no longer respond to hormonal therapies, there are chemotherapeutic and other agents that attack prostate cancer cells throughout the body.

Why choose UF Health Jacksonville?

Many specialists, one goal

We have a multidisciplinary team of genitourinary cancer specialists who work together with one goal in mind — to provide you with the best possible outcomes. The team includes board-certified, fellowship-trained urological oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists and pathologists who will create an individualized treatment plan that meets your unique needs.

Advanced facilities and technology

UF Health provides targeted MR/ultrasound biopsy using the UroNav Fusion Biopsy System. This technology allows sampling of prostate tissue in a precise manner. UF Health Urology in Jacksonville performs this patient-friendly procedure under short anesthesia, with same-day discharge.

Video: What makes UF Health Jacksonville unique in our approach to urologic cancers?

UF Health Jacksonville urologist and chair of the Department of Urology, K.C. Balaji, MD, discusses his department's unique approach for treatment for patients with urological cancers.

Related conditions & treatments

Commission on Cancer Accredited Program - A Quality Program of the American College of Surgeons

The UF Health Jacksonville cancer program is accredited by the Commission on Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons.

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