Prostate Cancer

With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among American men, representing about a third of all newly diagnosed cancers in males and 10 percent of cancer deaths.

Male doctor shaking elderly man's hand

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 man in 9 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

While those numbers sound intimidating, most prostate cancers grow slowly, and studies have shown 70 to 90 percent of men over 80 who died of other diseases also had prostate cancer that never affected them during their lives. This means not all men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer die of the disease or even need immediate treatment.

The key to fighting prostate cancer is early detection, and access to all available treatment options.

HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers have treated over 600 prostate cancer patients in the past 5 years. Our proven outcomes and survival rates are on par with nationally acclaimed treatment centers.

Risk Factors

Risk for prostate cancer increases with age as more than 9 out of 10 prostate cancers in the U.S. are found in men 50 and older. Prostate cancer is more common among black men than white or Hispanic/Latino men and less common among Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native men. It does seem to run in some families, and having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk.

While there are a few risk factors, the cause of is unknown. Prostate cancer is relatively slow growing, but left untreated it can cause death in more than 50 percent of men over a 10-year period. In contrast, if prostate cancer is caught early, the cure rate can be as high as 97 percent. Early detection is crucial to successfully dealing with prostate cancer.

Risk of prostate cancer may be reduced by:

  • Focusing on food from plants
  • Getting more than five servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Eating whole grains
  • Limiting both red meats and processed meats

More About Prostate Cancer

The HSHS Wisconsin Clinical Research Institute is a top national research center, with more than 25 years of experience in conducting clinical trials. More than 700 different clinical trials have been provided to more than 2,500 patients. The ability to conduct research studies opens up new avenues of hope, as they provide our patients with more treatment options.

Research compares the best-known treatment with new treatments, which have a possibility of improving current outcomes. Standard treatments used today are a result of past clinical trials.

In cancer research, clinical trials are designed to answer questions about new ways to:
  • Treat cancer
  • Find and diagnose cancer
  • Prevent cancer
  • Manage symptoms of cancer and/or its treatment
  • Whether or not to take part in a clinical trial is always the patient’s decision. All treatment options should be considered.

One important benefit of participating in a clinical trial is the possibility of being part of a breakthrough discovery in the treatment of cancer. Clinical trials help people who may get cancer in the future. But whether or not to take part in a clinical trial is always the patient's decision. All treatment options should be considered.

Through the HSHS Wisconsin Clinical Research Institute, patients of the St. Vincent Cancer Collaborative have access to 130-140 clinical trials at any given time. Many of these trials are also available at our affiliated locations in the Regional Cancer Collaborative.

To find out more about clinical trials, call the HSHS Wisconsin Clinical Research Institute at 920-433-8889
HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers uses a wide array of diagnostic tests to detect cancer. Accurate identification of cancer allows Oncologists to choose the most effective treatment specifically for you. Our team of experts will help to diagnose your cancer in its early stages, which will improve your recovery.

Axumin® to detect recurrence of prostate cancer
HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers is now utilizing a new, state-of-the-art testing technique that helps doctors detect a recurrence of prostate cancer and save lives, better than ever before. The testing is done with an FDA-approved imaging agent called Axumin®, in combination with a positron emission tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT)
Prior to a PET /CT scan, the imaging agent, Axumin (also known as a “tracer”), is administered to the patient through an IV. Axumin contains a synthetic amino acid that is absorbed by prostate cancer in the body at a much more rapid pace than normal cells. Like many imaging tracers, it also contains a radioactive element which allows for Axumin to be seen inside the patient’s body during a PET/CT scan. Therefore, if there is a recurrence or metastasis of cancer in the body, the physician will be able to identify the location and extent of the cancer based on where the Axumin fluid collects in greater amounts in the body. Over time and through a natural process, the tracer will become non-radioactive, and much of it will leave your body in your urine.

Screening for prostate cancer can be performed at a man’s regular annual physical with his regular physician. The screening consists of a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.

For men with risk factors, it has been recommended screening begin yearly at age 40. For men not high risk, a baseline PSA may be done at 40, repeated at 45, and then annually after age 50.

The DRE and PSA tests can detect a problem in the prostate, but don’t show whether the problem is cancer, or a less serious condition such as prostate enlargement or infection.

Abnormal results don’t always mean cancer is present and normal results don’t always mean the patient is cancer free. More than 25 percent of all prostate cancers occur in men with a PSA in the normal range.

Despite its limitations, PSA remains an important marker, and improved detection and screening with new biomarkers is the focus of many researchers and may soon be added to the compendium of diagnostic tools. Men should discuss PSA screening with their physician and make a shared decision on what is best for them.

At HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers, a team of health care professionals – including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and other skilled professionals – pool their experience and expertise to deliver individualized treatment.

Prostate cancer can be treated in many ways, so the first step after diagnosis is for the patient and physician to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment. The primary treatment options aimed at curing the cancer would include:
  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Medical Oncology
  • Cryotherapy
  • Active Surveillance
Throughout your journey to wellness, you will be meeting with specialists in many different fields working together to provide you with the very best care possible. Coordination of your care occurs between members of this treatment team both individually, or as a group in meetings we call “Tumor Board”. Each week, HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Cancer Centers hosts meetings to allow our team to collaboratively develop individualized treatment plans to meet the precious needs of our patients. Surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, genetic counselors, radiologists, pathologists, clinical research professionals, nursing and other supportive staff all attend these tumor board meetings. All of these experts are sitting together, reviewing your history, pathology, and imaging studies and discussing the most appropriate treatment course. Between these meetings, this multidisciplinary team continues to work together one on one as needed, to meet the individual needs of their patients, according to a timeframe suitable to you.

You can be assured this team of skilled experts is working closely together to develop the best treatment plan possible to treat your cancer and to give you all treatment options available.