September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Douglas J. Rivera, a board-certified Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director at Austin CyberKnife, and Dr. Lucas Jacomides, a Urologist at Greater Austin Urology, stopped by Studio 512 to tell us about why this issue is so important.
What is the purpose of the month and why is it needed?
- National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is observed every September in the United States by health experts and advocates, and individuals concerned with men’s prostate health.
- Designating a month for the disease serves the purpose of increasing public awareness of the importance of prostate health and screenings, educating about risk factors and symptoms, and advocating for further research on prostate health issues.
What are some risk factors that might affect a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer?
- Researchers have found several factors that might affect a man’s risk of getting prostate cancer, including:
- Age – Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65.
- Race/ethnicity – Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races. African-American men are also more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as white men.
- Family history – Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease.
What are some signs and symptoms associated with prostate cancer?
- Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms.
- More advanced prostate cancer can sometimes cause symptoms, such as problems passing urine, blood in urine, trouble getting an erection, pain in the hips or back, weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, or loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord.
What are the current statistics for prostate cancer?
- Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men. About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
- According to the American Cancer Society, almost 11k new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in Texas in 2019.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
- Most prostate cancers are first found during screening with a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or a digital rectal exam (DRE).
- Again, early prostate cancers usually don’t cause symptoms, but more advanced cancers are sometimes first found because of symptoms they cause.
- If cancer is suspected based on results of screening tests or symptoms, tests will be needed to confirm the diagnosis. The actual diagnosis of prostate cancer can only be made with a prostate biopsy.
Men diagnosed with prostate cancer are treated with the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System at Austin CyberKnife. What is CyberKnife?
- CyberKnife is a painless, non-invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors anywhere in the body.
- The treatment delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme precision and features a device that controls the width of the radiation beams the machine delivers during treatment, allowing our clinical experts to vary the beam size and treat a larger variety of tumors throughout the body. Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas is the only care site in Central Texas with this radiation technology.
How does CyberKnife treat prostate cancer? How does it compare to conventional radiation therapy?
- When treating prostate cancer, hundreds of angles and beam width adjustments in the CyberKnife prescribed treatment plan enable the radiation to be contoured to the shape of the prostate, resulting in treatment aimed directly to the prostate gland, avoiding nearby critical anatomy.
- This precision reduces treatment time to just five outpatient visits, compared to the average 45 visits conventional radiation therapy requires.
What are the benefits of using CyberKnife for prostate cancer treatment?
- There are numerous benefits of CyberKnife treatment, including:
o It’s noninvasive, meaning no incisions
o There is no anesthesia or hospitalization required
o It’s painless
o It’s completed in five or fewer outpatient treatment sessions
o There is little to no recovery time, allowing for an immediate return to daily activities
o There are minimal, if any, side effects
o Due to pinpoint precision of high-dose radiation delivery, there is minimal radiation exposure to healthy tissue surrounding a tumor
To learn more about Greater Austin Urology, go to www.greateraustinurology.com. Austin Cyberknife is located on I-35 near the Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas. Call them at (512) 324-8060, or go to www.austincyberknife.com for more details.
Sponsored by Austin Cyberknife. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.