Skip to main content

Spotlight on prostate cancer

| Healthy You | Wellness

Older man playing pickleball.

Send this information to a loved one so they can be informed as well.

The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It is a small organ below the bladder that makes fluid for semen. It is divided into several areas, and prostate cancer usually develops at the back of the prostate. While many people get prostate cancer, treatment has improved a lot in recent years. It's often more accurate and less invasive than in the past.

How common is prostate cancer?

You may know someone who has or had prostate cancer. That’s because according to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 people assigned male at birth will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is the most common cancer in American men, behind skin cancer. 

What are the risk factors?

Common risk factors include age, family history and certain lifestyle factors, such as diet and physical inactivity. In its early stages, prostate cancer may not cause symptoms. As the cancer progresses, it can cause issues such as difficulty starting and stopping urine flow, a weak urine stream and frequent urination.

How do providers test for it?

Screening for prostate cancer typically involves a blood test called the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, as well as a digital rectal exam (DRE). These tests can help to find prostate cancer early when it is most treatable. If screening tests show the presence of prostate cancer, additional tests, such as a biopsy, may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

What is the treatment?

Treatment depends on the stage and severity of the cancer. It may include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Finding prostate cancer early is crucial to give you better results and lower your chances of serious health issues. Regular screening and early treatment can help detect prostate cancer early when it is most treatable.

PeaceHealth uses the latest radiation therapy technology to treat prostate cancer. The CyberKnife and TruBeam linear accelerator can pinpoint and treat the cancer tumor down to a few millimeters without affecting the surrounding healthy tissue. 

“This technology allows for more effective treatment in less time with minimal side effects,” says Shushan Rana, MD, PeaceHealth radiation oncologist. “It has allowed patients to shrink a treatment course from seven weeks all the way down to ten days so there is little to no disruption in their lives.”

How can prostate cancer be prevented?

Looking for ways to lower your risk of prostate cancer? The following lifestyle changes can help: 

  • Maintaining a healthy diet.
  • Doing regular physical activity.
  • Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. 
  • Having regular check-ups with a healthcare provider.

When should I call my doctor if I have a concern?

Your annual physical exam is a great time to discuss any concerns with your provider. However, call your doctor if you have new concerns. These may include the inability to urinate, have painful urination and a fever, chills or body aches or have blood or pus in your urine or semen.

“The good news about prostate cancer is that the research and technology have advanced a lot, even in the past five years,” says Dr. Rana. “With each year in practice, I can tell more patients than before that they are cured from cancer.”

portrait of Shushan Rana MD

Shushan Rana MD

Radiation Oncology
Shushan Rana, MD, moved to the Pacific Northwest after receiving his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center – San Antonio. He then completed an internship in internal medicine at Providence Portland Medical Center, and a radiation oncology residency at Oregon Health & Science University. Before coming to PeaceHealth, he also completed a fellowship in proton therapy with a focus in pediatrics. Dr. Rana pursued radiation oncology in order to help patients at a cellular and atomic level, and strongly believes in a comprehensive approach to patient care that includes an understanding of the person’s social, mental and spiritual needs. If he wasn’t a physician, he would be a teacher because he loves opening others to a world of new ideas and believes teachers are “selfless humble heroes.” When not caring for patients, Dr. Rana enjoys photography, traveling and cooking with his wife and working on his nature photography hobby.