Dignity Health | hello Healthy | Summer 2019

HelloHealthy | Fall 2019 7 We get it: You may not want to read about prostate cancer. But as a man (or as a woman who cares about a man), it’s important to know a few facts about the disease. Why? “Because prostate cancer is currently the most common non-skin cancer in men, and there’s an increasing incidence of it with age,” says Paul Lee, MD, a urologist at Dignity Health – St. Joseph’s Medical Center. “It’s the second-leading cause of cancer death among men in the U.S., after lung cancer.” About 1 in 9 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime. Still, it’s important to remember that most of these men won’t die from the disease. That’s because prostate cancer often grows slowly. So older men who get the disease often die from something else before their prostate cancer ever becomes a serious threat. Prostate cancer typically strikes men 65 and older; it’s rare before age 40. Screening for prostate cancer Prostate cancer doesn’t usually have any early symptoms. As the cancer grows, it may cause problems such as difficulty urinating, blood in the urine or semen, erectile dysfunction, or back or hip pain. But other conditions can cause these symptoms too. There is a blood test that can be used to screen for prostate cancer called the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. According to Dr. Lee, it’s recommended for men who are at higher risk for the disease, such as those who have a family history of prostate cancer or who are African American. (Prostate cancer is more common among African Americans than other races.) Men at increased risk should have a PSA test between the ages of 45 to 55, Dr. Lee says. Men at lower risk should ask their doctor when to start testing. “ St. Joseph’s Cancer Institute also offers stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) as an option for treating prostate cancer. With just five highly- precise treatments, SBRT successfully treats the disease with little or no side effects. ” – Gaurav Singh, MD What you should know about prostate cancer MEN Treatment options Prostate cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. The most appropriate treatment depends on how advanced the cancer is. “We stratify each patient with prostate cancer into low-risk, intermediate-risk and high-risk,” says Gaurav Singh, MD, a radiation oncologist at St. Joseph’s. “So depending on the risk classification of the patient, there are different treatment options.” In some cases, the right treatment is no treatment. Because prostate cancer treatment can have serious side effects – and because the disease often grows slowly – some men may choose to delay treatment and have their doctors routinely monitor the disease with blood tests and exams. Every situation is different, of course, which is why men diagnosed with prostate cancer should always discuss with their doctor what the best treatment plan is for them, Dr. Lee says. Gaurav Singh, MD Paul Lee, MD