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Cancer Awareness

Prostate Cancer Awareness

An estimated 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2019, according to the American Cancer Society. While prostate cancer is a serious disease, more than 2.9 million men in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives are alive today.

We encourage you to ask your physician about a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The screening measures the prostate-specific antigen in your blood. An elevated PSA may indicate prostate cancer.

Use these tools to learn more:

Prostate cancer facts

  • Prostate cancer is called a silent killer. One in 9 American men will be diagnosed with the disease during his lifetime.

    It is the second-leading cause of cancer death in U.S. men, behind lung cancer and colorectal cancer. It often has no symptoms until it has advanced or spread to other areas of the body. Yet when found early, prostate cancer is curable for up to 90% of patients.

    Prostate cancer doesn’t have common early symptoms, and many of its signs are also associated with other conditions. Anyone who experiences the following should contact his physician for an examination:

    • Urinary issues
      • Problems passing urine
      • Burning, pain or other discomfort with urination
      • Frequent urination
      • Slow or weak urine stream
      • Feeling of incomplete urination
      • Urinary incontinence
      • Nocturia (nighttime urination)
      • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
      • Urinary tract infections
    • Impotency
    • Pain in the hips, lower back (spine), chest (ribs), upper thighs or other areas
    • Weakness or numbness in legs or feet
  • Several risk factors have been identified that dramatically increase the chance of developing prostate cancer. High-risk factors for prostate cancer include:

    • Being African American
    • Having a family history of prostate cancer (father, brother or uncle)
    • Having a personal or family history of:
      • Lynch syndrome
      • Uterine, ovarian or breast cancer
      • PTEN/BRCA gene mutations
      • Any abnormal rectal exam
      • Obstructive urinary symptoms unresponsive to treatment
  • The University of Kansas Health System recommends that men should have their first PSA screening at age 55, and then every year going forward until age 75.

    Prostate cancer screening is the cornerstone of early detection. If you have questions about whether a PSA screening is right for you, or need assistance scheduling a screening, call 913-588-1227 or toll-free 844-323-1227.

Ways to reduce your risk of prostate cancer

While no one can prevent prostate cancer, you can reduce your chances of developing the disease by doing the following:

  • Adhere to a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get physically active.
  • Schedule an annual physical exam with your primary care physician to discuss your risk.

Prostate cancer research at The University of Kansas Cancer Center

The University of Kansas Cancer Center seeks to accelerate cancer prevention, discovery and care to save and improve lives with leading-edge, interdisciplinary cancer research.

Learn more about some of our latest cancer research.

Prostate cancer patient Don Hall.

The power of a second opinion

With a father and 2 uncles who had prostate cancer, Don Hall knew he was at risk for the same fate. His physicians knew it, too.

Don's story

Prostate cancer screening

William Parker, MD, urologic oncologist at The University of Kansas Cancer Center, discusses prostate cancer and why men should talk to their doctors about which screening is right for them.

Speaker 1: Welcome to Bench-to-Bedside, a weekly series of live conversations about recent advances in cancer, from the research bench to treatment at the patient's bedside. And now, your host and the Director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, Dr Roy Jensen.

Dr Roy Jensen: Hi, I'm Dr Roy Jensen and with me is Dr William Parker, urologic surgical oncologist at The University of Kansas Cancer Center. Today we're gonna discuss prostate cancer and why all men should discuss with their doctors whether screening is right for them, and if so, what screening procedure or combination of procedures they should choose. This is an important question, because it is estimated that one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes, and it's the number three cause of cancer death in men. So, Dr Parker, could you please tell us, who is at high risk for prostate cancer?

Dr William P.: Certainly. So the highest risk men are those who are African American, those with a family history of either urethral or any prostate cancer, be that in a father, or a brother, or an uncle. And then those men who have a family history of related cancers like breast cancer, ovarian cancers, and in particular the BRCA or BROCA positive cancers.

Dr Roy Jensen: Okay. So, if you're just joining us, we're talking about prostate cancer and the importance of PSA screening in detecting the disease. And as always Alesha Miller is here in the studio to take your questions. Remember to share this link with people you think might benefit from our discussion, and use the hashtag BenchtoBedside. So, over the last decade or so prostate cancer screening has become pretty controversial, could you tell us what is driving this, and give us your viewpoint in terms of this issue.

Dr William P.: Absolutely. So the way we screen for prostate cancer is with a blood test called PSA or prostate-specific antigen, and widespread use of this test led to historically fairly broad diagnosis, and particularly over-diagnosis of prostate cancer. Not all prostate cancers are created equal, and there are lot of men who have low grade cancers who often don't require treatment. However, because we've diagnosed a lot of prostate cancers using widespread PSA screening, we also over-treated a lot of men and that really led to a lot of this controversy. Now, I think the important thing to keep in mind is that PSA screening is very important, and while it's a test that's not very accurate at diagnosing cancer, it's a great test at identifying men at risk for prostate cancer. In my personal opinion PSA screening and prostate cancer screening should obviously still be done, it just has to be done in a thoughtful way. There are newer more accurate tests that we have now to help refine that search, and refine that screening, so that that over-diagnosis and over-treatment is much less common.

Dr Roy Jensen: How does prostate cancer typically present?

Dr William P.: Most of the time it's asymptomatic, so the vast majority of men are diagnosed based on an elevated PSA or digital rectal exam. When symptoms are present, which again is very rare, it can be urinary in nature, so difficulty urinating, pain with urination, blood in the urine. But again, that's very rare.

Dr Roy Jensen: So, if you're just joining us, we're talking with Will Parker, urologic surgical oncologist about the importance of prostate cancer and whether or not you should be screened for this disease. If an individual is diagnosed with prostate cancer, what are the treatment options that are available?

Dr William P.: There are a multitude of treatment options that we have at our disposal now, certainly as I alluded to you earlier, lower grade less aggressive cancers we'll tend to watch, so active surveillance, which is the strategy fantastic keeping a close eye on the prostate cancer and making sure it's not progressing, is the mainstay of therapy. With higher grade and more aggressive cancers, aggressive intervention such as surgery or radiation are really the mainstays of therapy that have long-term data to support their use.

Dr Roy Jensen: Okay. How do we tell which prostate cancers should be aggressively treated, and which ones we can kind of engage in watchful waiting on?

Dr William P.: Prostate cancer is graded with a grading system called the Gleason score, it's a score that's made up of two different components. One is the most common type of prostate cancer identified in the prostate, and the second is the second most highest grade that they identify. That score ranges from a lower score of a 6, to a high score of a 10. The lower on the spectrum, the less likely it's going to be aggressive, and the more we'll recommend surveillance. Whereas when you start getting into scores of 7, 8, 9, or 10, those are the men who really benefit from intervention.

Dr Roy Jensen: If being over-treated for prostate cancer, what are the significant consequences of that?

Dr William P.: Unfortunately the treatment for prostate cancer does carry with it some quality of life impacts, namely with urinary function and sexual function. When we expose low risk men, where the chance that the prostate cancer is going to cause them some lethal event, when we expose them to intervention, we really are exposing them to the potential harm of urinary side effects, and sexual side effects.

Dr Roy Jensen: Okay. Again, Alesha Miller is here in the studio to take your questions, and Alesha, do you have any final words for us?

Alesha Miller: We don't have any questions currently, but as the live broadcast ends we encourage you to continue the conversation, and we will be monitoring the questions throughout the day.

Dr Roy Jensen: Well, thank you Dr Parker, it's been a pleasure having you with us today. Please join us next Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. for Bench-to-Bedside as we discuss cancer survivorship. Thanks for watching.

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