If you’ve been getting up more often at night to go to the bathroom, don’t just write it off as a part of aging. Prostate cancer can affect your continence function and is a common disease, affecting 1 in 8 men in the U.S.
“Early detection is critical, so pay attention to symptoms like burning or pain while urinating, trouble starting or stopping urinating, a frequent urge to urinate at night or a loss of bladder control,” said Layron Long, MD, a urologist at Samaritan Urology – Corvallis.
These symptoms are also common among those who have an enlarged prostate, so don’t automatically assume it’s cancer if you are having pain or complications with urination. Your best bet is to go in for an exam.
Advanced treatments available
If you are over the age of 65, are Black or have a family history of prostate cancer, you may be at a higher risk, so talk to your primary care provider even if you aren’t noticing any symptoms. Since prostate cancer can develop without symptoms, you may need to be screened using a physical exam or a blood test. Depending on the results of these tests you may be referred to a urologist for a biopsy to confirm diagnosis.
“We use highly targeted tools for detecting and treating prostate cancer, like MRI or ultrasound‑guided biopsy, which uses real‑time imaging to identify a possible tumor and take an accurate sample,” said Dr. Long. “If surgery is needed, our team offers minimally invasive robotic surgery to preserve healthy tissue and minimize side effects.”
Some patients are good candidates for a form of radiation therapy called prostate brachytherapy. This treatment uses a tiny device the size of a grain of rice placed at the tumor site to dispense radiation. Since this restricts radiation to a small area, brachytherapy can treat cancer while limiting damage to healthy cells.
Recovery outlook is positive
Dr. Long reports that prostate cancer responds well to treatment, with a 90% to 95% cure rate if detected early.
“Don’t ignore prostate problems,” he said. “We use the most cutting‑edge technologies, but the best care works even better if we can find the cancer when it’s small.”
Hear from Rik Savering, prostate cancer survivor, about how his fear prolonged getting care and his hindsight advice for others, at samhealth.org/RikS.