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Home > Cancers We Treat > Urologic Cancer > Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in men. It surrounds the urethra. The prostate makes a fluid that is part of semen. Prostate cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in the prostate gland.

A graphic depicting prostate cancer. On the left is a side view outline of a male highlighting the prostate, and on the right is a cutaway and closer look at prostrate cancer.
Prostate Cancer
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Factors that may increase the risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Age: 55 or older
  • Race: Black
  • Family history of prostate cancer, especially father or brother
  • Family history of prostate cancer diagnosed at a young age
  • A high-fat diet


Symptoms may include:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Not able to urinate
  • Weak or interrupted urine flow
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs


Your doctor may order tests, such as:

  • Digital rectal exam
  • Urine test
  • Blood tests
  • Other tests, such as:
    • Transrectal ultrasonography
    • Intravenous pyelogram
    • Cystoscopy
    • Prostate biopsy


Treatment options include:

  • Watchful Waiting if you:
    • Have early stage prostate cancer that is growing slowly
    • Are of an advanced age
    • Have serious health problems (risks of treatment outweigh the benefits)
  • Surgery
    • Pelvic lymphadenectomy
    • Radical retropubic prostatectomy
    • Radical perineal prostatectomy
    • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
  • Radiation Therapy
    • Conformal radiation therapy
    • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
    • Radium-223 treatment
  • Hormone Therapy
    • Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analogs (such as goserelin, histrelin, leuprolide, triptorelin)
    • Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) antagonists (such as degarelix)
    • Anti-androgens (such as bicalutamide, flutamide, nilutamide)
    • Other types of hormone therapy, such as:
      • Estrogen therapy—rarely used now unless other treatments are not working
      • Ketoconazole—affects the production of androgens
      • Abiraterone—may be used in cases where prostate cancer does not respond to other treatments
      • Orteronel (experimental drug)—affects the production of androgens
      • Enzalutamide—affects the production of androgens
      • Abiraterone—may be used in advanced stages of prostate cancer
  • Other Treatment Options
    • Cryosurgery
    • Chemotherapy
    • Immunotherapy
    • Targeted therapies
      • Selective endothelin A receptor antagonist (SERA)
      • Anti-angiogenic drugs
      • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (such as Imatinib)
    • High-intensity focused ultrasound

BPH, Prevention

To reduce your risk of prostate cancer, take the following steps:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Your diet should be high in fruits, vegetables, and fish, and low in red meat.
  • Ask your doctor about taking certain medicines. For example, daily aspirin therapy and 5-alpha reductase inhibitors may reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
Learn more about our prostate treatment expertise.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.