Prostate Cancer Screening
Prostate cancer is fairly common in males over the age of 40. Several types of cells are found in the prostate, but almost all prostate cancers develop from the cells within the gland.
The medical term for a cancer that starts in the gland cells is called adenocarcinoma. Other types of cancer can also start in the prostate gland, including Sarcomas, Small cell carcinomas, Neuroendocrine tumors and Transitional cell carcinomas. These types of prostate cancer are very rare so chances are if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer it is likely to be an adenocarcinoma.
Some prostate cancers can grow and spread fairly quickly, but most grow slowly. Some autopsy studies have shown that older men who have died of other causes have had prostate cancer that was never detected and never affected them during their life.
Sign & Symptoms
Early prostate cancer usually comes with no symptoms at all. However, more advanced prostate cancer and sometimes cause symptoms, such as:
- Difficulty passing urine – this includes a slow or weak stream or the need to urinate more frequently.
- Blood in urine
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain in the hips, chest and back, or other areas from cancer that has spread to the bones.
- Weakness in the legs or feet.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control due to the cancer pressing on the spinal cord.
Screening Tests and Examination
Treated in its earliest stages, prostate cancer can be cured.
It is recommended that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks, and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. This prostate cancer screening discussion should happen at these ages:
- Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).
After this discussion, men who want to be screened should get the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The digital rectal exam (DRE) may also be done as a part of screening.
Prostate Cancer Screening Locations
You should first have a discussion with your primary care physician to determine if you should be screened for prostate cancer. Your doctor may refer you to a urologist for further evaluation.
While the PSA and DRE screening tests can suspect cancer, the actual diagnosis can only be made with a prostate biopsy by a urologist. A biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of the body tissue is removed and then examined.
With the detection of prostate cancer while it is still localized (has not spread past the prostate), combined with improvements in technology, chances of recovery have improved dramatically. Today, men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer have a number of options for treatment with high likelihood of cure.
Prostate Cancer treatments may include:
- Expectant management or active surveillance
- Radiation oncology
- Hormone therapy
- Vaccine treatment
- Bone-directed treatment
These treatments are generally used one at a time, although they may be combined in some cases.
Factors such as age, health conditions, and stage of cancer should be taken into consideration before choosing a treatment option. Talk to your Urologist about what treatment and recovery options are best for you.
It’s important to discuss the side effects of each treatment option with your specialists before undergoing any type of treatment so you have a plan in action to cope with them. Ask your doctor what to expect in regards to urinary control, sexual function, returning to work and participating in athletic activities.
Xofigo® Injection for Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer at Image Guided Radiation Therapy
If prostate cancer has spread to your bones, you should ask Image Guided Radiation Therapy about Xofigo®.
Xofigo® is used to treat prostate cancer that is resistant to other medical and surgical treatments that lower testosterone. The medical term for this condition is castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Xofigo® can be used to treat castration-resistant prostate cancer to help slow the spread of your cancer.
Xofigo® is FDA approved. It is an injection that contains the radiactive material radium 223. Radium and calcium have similar chemical properties, since it goes to areas in your bones that are growing quickly (just as calcium does). When you have prostate cancer that has metastasized (or spread) to your bones, this causes your bones to grow and Xofigo® to go to that area. The radiation from Xofigo® is a strong treatment, but only travels short distances. This means the radiation is deadly to the cancer cells, but the damage to nearby healthy cells is limited.
Over the course of your therapy, you will get a total of 6 intravenous injections of Xofigo® – one injection every 4 weeks. The injection will be given over 1 minute. After treatment, you will be able to leave our office and go about your daily activities. You don’t have to be concerned about radioactivity around your loved ones. There are no restrictions regarding contact with other people following your treatments. Radioactivity is primarily eliminated when you go to the bathroom.
Xofigo® has been studied in clinical trails with 921 with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer. In addition to the other medication they were taking, some of the men in the study were given Xofigo®. Others were given an injection that did not contain an active drug. The men who received Xofigo® lived significantly longer (median Xofigo® treated patient had overall survival of 14.9 months versus 11.3 months in placebo treated patients).
Xofigo® can be absorbed by organs other than the bone, primarily the bone marrow and digestive system. So, there are potential side effects that should be discussed with the radiation therapists at Image Guided Radiation Therapy.
Most health insurance plans cover Xofigo® injections, including Medicare. Xofigo® Access Service can help determine if your insurance plan covers this treatment.
Call Image Guided Radiation Therapy to discuss if this option is a viable one for you. We are here to help support you and the people who care for you, and are happy to consult with you regarding your options.
For important risk and use information about Xofigo®, please see the full Prescribing Information available at xofigo-us.com.