Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Urology Care Foundation
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Cancer Treatment Centers of America® will donate $1 per pledge to Know Your Stats® in support of prostate cancer awareness and research.

Urology Care Foundation's terms of service


  • About CTCA
  • What is Prostate Cancer?
  • Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
  • Prostate Cancer Symptoms
  • Treatment and Side Effects

About Cancer Treatment Centers of America®

Midwestern Regional Medical Center

Midwestern Regional Medical Center - Chicago, IL

Since 1988, Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) has been helping patients win the fight against cancer using advanced technology and a personalized approach to care.

Our national network of fully accredited cancer hospitals earned Full Standards Compliance from the Joint Commission, as well as recognition for delivering high-quality care and exceeding patient safety standards from numerous renowned healthcare organizations, such as the Association of Community Cancer Centers and the American College of Radiology and the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), for meeting the highest standards for quality cancer care.

Each hospital provides state-of-the-art cancer treatment by a dedicated team of oncologists, surgeons and other health experts. We offer a welcoming environment, where patients and their family members can find comprehensive cancer care under one roof.

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is cancer that begins in tissues of the prostate gland. The prostate is the male sex gland responsible for the production of semen and is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. A small, walnut-sized structure, the prostate wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.

Every year, 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. This year alone, about 220,800 men will be newly diagnosed. If caught early, though, prostate cancer is one of the most treatable malignancies.

Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. More than 2.9 million men in the United States have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lives and still are alive today.

Prostate Cancer Infographic

Learn more about prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Knowing the risk factors can help you and your physician decide on a prostate cancer screening schedule that’s right for you. Prostate cancer screenings make it possible to detect the cancer in early stages before symptoms are present.

Common risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Race: African-American men are about 60 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime than Caucasian or Hispanic men.
  • Age: Prostate cancer occurs mainly in older men. Three out of five men who are diagnosed are age 65 or older. On average, men are about age 66 when diagnosed. It is rare for a man to be diagnosed before he turns 40.
  • Family history: Men with an immediate blood relative, such as a father or brother, who has had prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop the disease.
  • Diet: A diet high in saturated fat, as well as obesity, increases the risk of prostate cancer.
  • High testosterone levels: Men who use testosterone therapy are more likely to develop prostate cancer. An increase in testosterone stimulates the growth of the prostate gland.
  • Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN): PIN is a condition in which prostate gland cells look abnormal when examined with a microscope. It is not necessarily linked with any symptoms. Nearly one half of men will be diagnosed with PIN before age 50.
  • Genome changes: Certain genes have been known to elevate prostate cancer risks, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Urinary symptoms can be associated with prostate cancer because of the prostate gland’s proximity to the bladder and urethra. Prostate cancer signs related to urination include:

  • Burning or pain
  • Difficulty urinating or trouble starting and stopping while urinating
  • More frequent urges to urinate at night
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Decreased flow or velocity of urine stream
  • Blood in urine

In advanced stages, prostate cancer can spread to nearby tissues or bones. If the cancer spreads to the spine, it may press on the spinal nerves. Other prostate cancer symptoms include:

  • Blood in semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Swelling in legs or pelvic area
  • Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet
  • Bone pain that doesn't go away or leads to fractures

Treatment and Side Effects

Because prostate cancer is one of the most treatable malignancies when caught early, it is important to consider the side effects of treatment when you and your physician discuss your treatment options.

Men who require treatment typically choose between surgery or radiation therapy. Many men, though, opt for active surveillance as a first step.

Active surveillance: In general, active surveillance could be an option for patients whose prostate cancer is not causing any symptoms, expected to grow slowly, and small and contained within the prostate.

During active surveillance, men are monitored closely for changes in the progression of their cancer and are tested at regular intervals. This treatment approach is reserved for men with slow-growing, localized cancers who are not experiencing symptoms related to their cancer.

Men are not treated with therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery unless their cancer appears to be growing or getting worse. In some cases, active surveillance may be the entire course of a man's treatment plan, as he and his doctor weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive cancer therapies.

Surgery: Whether a man is a candidate for surgery depends on factors such as the type, size, location, grade and stage of the tumor, as well as general health factors such as age, physical fitness and other medical comorbidities.

Surgery for prostate cancer is called a prostatectomy, which is the partial or total removal of the prostate.

Side effects of traditional surgery include:

  • Urinary incontinence, the inability to control your urine
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of fertility
  • Change in penis length

Because of a higher likelihood of sexual and urinary side effects, a prostatectomy using traditional surgical methods is typically not the preferred method of treatment. Advanced technology can reduce side effects.

At our hospitals, a prostatectomy done using our da Vinci® Surgical System often gives patients a better chance for a return of urinary continence and pre-surgery erectile function.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses targeted energy to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors and provide relief of certain cancer-related symptoms.

With advanced technology, radiation oncologists are better able to target difficult-to-reach tumors in the prostate. They also can direct higher radiation doses to prostate cancer cells while reducing exposure to nearby healthy tissue.

There are two primary types of radiation therapy for prostate cancer:

  • External beam radiation therapy (EBRT): Delivers high doses of radiation to prostate cancer cells from outside the body using a variety of machine-based technologies.
  • High-dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy (internal radiation): Delivers high doses of radiation from implants placed close to or inside the tumor(s) in the body.

Survival rates for men with low-grade cancer confined within the prostate gland are about the same as those for men who underwent a radical prostatectomy.

Side effects of radiation therapy include:

  • Increased risk of bladder cancer and/or rectal cancer
  • Impotence, though it may improve over time
  • Urinary incontinence, though it’s less common than after surgery
  • Bowel and bladder problems, though they usually improve over time
  • Bowel problems, though most go away over time

Based on many individualized factors, CTCA uses Radium 223 (brand name Xofigo®), as an FDA approved treatment option for men with advanced stage prostate cancer. It is an injectable drug that uses radioactive particles to mimic calcium and targets cancer in the bones. Each dose is personalized based on the patient’s specific criteria. It can provide men a better quality of life, ease pain and show fewer side effects. It has numerous potential benefits including increased survival, decrease in bone pain, and improved quality of life.

The Calypso® 4D Localization System™ helps our doctors deliver focused doses of radiation with greater accuracy to prostate cancer patients receiving external beam radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is typically used for advanced or metastatic prostate cancer. With chemotherapy, men receive anticancer drugs designed to interfere with and stop the growth of rapidly dividing cancer cells.

Prior to delivering chemotherapy, you may have tumor molecular profiling to identify chemotherapy drugs and other targeted therapies that are more likely to work for you. Choosing more effective drugs can avoid unnecessary toxicity to you and can target cancer cells as aggressively as possible from the start.

Side effects of chemotherapy include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, we offer integrative oncology services such as nutrition therapy and mind-body medicine to help reduce or moderate chemotherapy-related symptoms. Prior to receiving chemotherapy, you may receive pre-medications to help reduce nausea and vomiting.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy also is typically reserved for metastatic and more advanced disease. Immunotherpay uses the body's immune system to fight cancer. This treatment option may be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as radiation therapy and hormone therapy.

Side effects of immunotherapy include:

  • Flu-like symptoms: fever, chills, nausea and loss of appetite
  • Blood pressure changes, usually a decrease
  • Fatigue
  • Decrease in blood pressure
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle aches

Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy is a form of systemic therapy that works to add, block or remove hormones from the body to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer deprives cancer cells of the male hormones they need to grow.

Hormone therapy is often done in combination with radiation and other therapies for prostate cancer. It may be used to shrink advanced prostate cancer tumors so they can be treated with radiation.

A common regimen for prostate cancer therapy uses a combination of two or more drugs to lower the level of testosterone and other hormones that can fuel the disease. In some cases, hormone therapy may be given intermittently to help reduce treatment-related side effects.

Side effects of hormone therapy include:

  • Mood changes
  • Low libido
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Loss of bone density and increased risk of fracture
  • Weight gain
Know Your Stats

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® and the Urology Care Foundation have partnered to raise awareness about prostate cancer and support prostate cancer research. This initiative, called Know Your Stats®, is part of a broader effort with the National Football League to encourage men to talk with their doctor about their risk of prostate cancer.

By taking the pledge, I agree to:

  • Know my risk or encourage men in my life to know their risk (Men with a family history and African American men have an increased risk.)
  • Talk to my doctor or encourage men in my life to talk to a doctor about prostate cancer testing.
  • Raise awareness (You can spread the word on Facebook, Twitter or in your community!)
  • Support prostate cancer research.

Know Your Stats Pledge Terms of Service

As a member of the Know Your Stats® Team, I agree to the following:

I grant the Urology Care Foundation and Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (or other entity acting on behalf of the Foundation) permission to use my name in publicity for this campaign.

I consent to use by the Urology Care Foundation of my name for promotional purposes, including, for example, publicity, printed matter, advertising and web content. I hereby relinquish the right to examine or approve the materials designated above prior to their publication or distribution.

By submitting this pledge, I agree that I understand, have read and agree to all of the above.