Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in males that uses male hormones called androgens, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), to trigger and maintain male sex characteristics and reproduction. Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control.

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about one man in nine will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

In many cases, prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer that does not spread beyond the prostate gland before the time of diagnosis. However, some cases are more aggressive and need more urgent treatment. Prostate cancer that is detected early, when it is still confined to the prostate gland, has the best chance for successful treatment.

Researchers have found several factors that might affect a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer, including:

  • Age: your chance of developing prostate cancer rapidly increases after the age of 50, and roughly six in ten cases are found in men over the age of 65.
  • Race/ethnicity: prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races
  • Family history: in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor that can help indicate prostate cancer. If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, there is more than double the risk of developing this disease.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Include:

  • Trouble Urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in your urine
  • Blood in your semen
  • Pain in your hips or back
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Weight Loss

Because these symptoms may overlap with those of other conditions, it is important to get the correct diagnosis to find the right treatment. To help determine the best option for you the American Cancer Society recommends prostate screenings.

What is a Prostate Screening?

As with all cancers, an important part of the treatment process is detecting the cancer as early as possible. Orange County Radiation Oncology Center recommends following the American Cancer Society’s guide for prostate cancer screening. The screening process will include the following:

  • A digital rectal exam
  • PSA testing
  • Imaging of the prostate gland

Typically, if an initial digital rectal exam comes back with abnormal results, the next step would be a PSA blood test followed by an imaging test of the prostate gland. Should your PSA levels be high, a prostate biopsy may be recommended as a follow up to the screening. A biopsy is a procedure in which small samples of the prostate are removed and then looked at under a microscope. If prostate cancer is found on a biopsy, this test can also help tell how likely it is that the cancer will grow and spread quickly.

If you are interested in getting a prostate screening, please fill out the form, and one of our team members will contact you to set up an appointment.

    How do we treat prostate cancer?

    At Orange County Radiation Oncology Center, we use radiation therapy to deliver a fast and high-quality treatment with comfort and convenience. Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays that target specific cancer sites. Radiation may be used to destroy cancer cells, relieve symptoms associated with cancer and/or prevent the cancer from returning. Your treatment is custom-tailored and unique to your diagnosis, tumor size, location and involvement. Your radiation oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation) will review all available treatment options and recommend a personalized plan for you based on national guidelines, which guide all cancer treatments. Radiation therapy is used either alone or in combination with other treatments such as chemotherapy, hyperthermia and surgery.

    Different types of radiation – such as 3D CRT (3-Dimensional Conformal Radiation Therapy), IGRT (Image-Guided Radiation Therapy), IMRT (Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy), Prostate Seeds and HDR (High-Dose Radiation Therapy), as well as radiopharmaceuticals – are used to treat specific types of cancers.

    Radiation can be delivered either from outside the body with a machine called a linear accelerator (external beam radiation) or from a radiation source implanted permanently or temporarily in the body (brachytherapy).

    Benefits of Radiation Therapy

    Targeted

    A miniaturized x-ray source delivers a precise dose of radiation directly to the cancerous site. This focused approach carefully destroys cancer cells and spares surrounding healthy tissue.

    Non-Surgical

    Radiation therapy is painless, scar-free and does not require anesthesia, offering a patient-friendly solution.

    Convenient

    By offering an in-office option for prostate cancer treatment, patients able to return to normal activities immediately with no downtime.

    Efficient

    Our platform is comprised of cutting-edge hardware and software was expertly designed to facilitate best in class clinical collaboration and quality of care.

    What to expect

    Pre-Treatment

    Treatment Planning

    You will have a CT scan, PET scan or MRI to create a personalized treatment plan. A specialized team, including your oncologist, will use 3D images and special computer software to establish the precise contours for each tumor and any regions of risk (sensitive organs or structures). Your physician will decide how much radiation the tumor should receive and the appropriate pattern, position and intensity of the radiation beam will be calculated.

    Treatment Schedule

    Radiation treatments happen Monday through Friday for a number of weeks, usually for 5-8 weeks. Weekend breaks, on Saturday and Sunday, allow your normal cells to recover and assist your healing process.

    Pre-Treatment Markings

    Ink marks or small tattoo-like dots may be placed on your skin in the area of the tumor to ensure the radiation is precisely delivered to the tumor. The markings are visible on your skin, but only in the area of the tumor and are not permanent. They are designed to fade and will begin to disappear towards the end of your radiation treatments. Occasionally, the markings will have to be reapplied to your skin during treatment. It is very important that you do not scrub the markings, during your bathing/showering. Your radiation therapist will discuss with you how to care for your skin during your treatments, including protecting the markings. You may also need a custom-fitted molded device to help keep you in the same position before and during treatment.

    Day of Treatment

    Day of Treatment

    Our radiation therapists will bring you from the waiting room to the treatment room with the linear accelerator (radiation machine). They will ensure you are comfortable and assist you in getting positioned on the treatment table.

    Preparing Treatment Equipment

    Our therapist will align the laser to the target on your skin, indicated by the “tattoo-like” markings. Alignment takes only a couple of minutes. The therapist will leave the room to deliver and monitor your treatment.

    Treatment

    During treatment, the machine will move around your body. You won’t feel anything. It’s much like having an x-ray. Sometimes the specific area of skin receiving treatment, can get tender and sunburned, your healthcare team will want to know if you are experiencing any burning or discomfort during your treatment. Your healthcare team will guide you with proper care of your skin.

    Treatment Time

    Typically the treatment takes about 10-15 minutes.

    Post-Treatment

    Potential Side Effects

    The most common side effect is fatigue – it is very important to get plenty of rest and adequate nutrition. Generally, you will see your doctor weekly. We are always available if you need us.

    Take The Next Step

    If are showing any of the symptoms listed on this page, are prone to the risks listed above, or are seeking more information on prostate cancer screenings or available treatment options, please click on the button below. Conveniently located in Orange County California, our friendly, courteous staff is always willing to answer questions, and we make every effort to make your visit as comfortable as possible. If you have need for our team of specialists, contact us today!