According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer will occur in the U.S. during 2012. It is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men aside from skin cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths behind lung cancer.
Dr. Hart said, “Prostate cancer is very common among men, and the chance of a man developing prostate cancer increases with age.”
Dialogue is important to understanding cancer of the prostate, a gland found in males and located in front of the rectum and below the urinary bladder. Hart said that men between 50 and 60 should talk with their primary care physician during their annual physical about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screenings.
“Ideally, a male patient should have a conversation with his primary care physician about prostate cancer screening and the risks and benefits associated with the treatment options,” Dr. Hart said. The screening includes measurement of Prostate Specific Antigen, a marker in blood that is secreted by the prostate, and a digital rectal exam.
According to Dr. Hart, primary care physicians typically refer patients to a urologist if there is concern for prostate cancer. The urologist may proceed with a prostate biopsy and any other required staging studies. If prostate cancer is diagnosed, treatment options may include active surveillance, surgery or radiation therapy.
“The WellStar Prostate Cancer Network offers a team approach to prostate cancer care and brings together all of the relevant resources including urologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists,” Dr. Hart said.
In addition to comprehensive medical care, WellStar also offers many resources to support patients such as a men’s support group, nutrition counseling, nurse navigators, and a tumor board which meets regularly so that physicians from multiple specialties can meet to discuss cases.
Free prostate cancer screenings are available on Thursday at Radiation Oncology, 320 Kennestone Hospital Boulevard, Suite LL1, Marietta 30060 (in the WellStar Kennestone Hospital complex) from 6 to 8 p.m. Appointments are necessary. For more information, call (770) 956-STAR (7827).