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Tests, Treatments and Therapies for Prostate Cancer at the University of Colorado Cancer Center

No individuals – or prostate cancer cases – are alike. As a world leader in cancer research, we’re able to use a vast array of resources to properly evaluate your situation and create a plan to fit your exact, personal needs.

From the initial diagnostic testing to the post-treatment follow-up, your expert medical team will be with you every step of the way.

To partner with our team of experts and create your individual treatment plan, call (720) 848-0300.

3-D images allow more accurate tumor mapping

3-D Staging Biopsies for Prostate Cancer at UCH

Traditional prostate biopsies sample only a small portion of the prostate, which can make it difficult to determine the extent of the cancer.

3-D staging biopsies provide a more detailed "picture" of the cancer and how much of the prostate is affected. Each area of cancer is "mapped" into the 3-D model. Knowing where the cancer is located, the grade of the cancer and how much of the prostate is affected helps your doctor recommend the best treatment for you.

To learn more about this advanced diagnostic tool, e-mail Cliff Jones or call him at (720) 848-0684.

Get more in-depth information about prostate cancer 3-D diagnosis and therapy.

Diagnostic Tests

The following tests and procedures may be used to find and classify (stage) cancer in the prostate gland:

 

Bone scan – Pictures are taken of the bones to look for areas of rapid growth, as this may indicate cancer.

 

CT scan (computed tomography) – An X-ray procedure that creates detailed, highly accurate cross- sectional pictures of the prostate. A special contrast material, or dye, may be injected into a vein to help abnormal tissues show up more clearly.

 

ProstaScint scan – a small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein in your arm. Four days later, images are taken to determine if cancer cells are present in your body.

 

Prostate biopsy – A needle is used to remove a sample of the prostate tissue. A doctor, called a pathologist, views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

 

Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) – Uses sound waves to make an image of the prostate.

 

Treatment

Treatment for prostate cancer varies greatly from person to person. Your medical team may use any combination of prostate surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, immunotherapy or drug therapy to treat or control your cancer.

Surgery

Prostate surgery is often the initial treatment for prostate cancer. A surgical oncologist, who specializes in the removal of prostate cancer, will perform an operation to remove the prostate and other areas that are affected by cancer.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy involves using drugs to slow down, damage or kill cancer cells. It may involve single drugs or a combination of drugs taken intravenously or by mouth. Chemotherapy cycles often last three or four weeks. Your team may also prescribe drugs and other treatments to reduce or eliminate chemotherapy’s side effects.

Radiation Therapy ("Radiotherapy")

Radiation therapy involves using X-rays and other types of medical radiation. Aimed at specific parts of the body, it is used to kill cancer cells, prevent cancer cells from developing or recurring, and ease many of the symptoms caused by cancer. It can be used together with chemotherapy for certain cancers (this is called “chemo-radiotherapy”).

Anti-Cancer Drugs and Targeted Therapies

Targeted therapies are anti-cancer drugs or other substances that directly interfere with cancer growth and progression on a molecular level. They may be taken (with few side effects) on their own or in combination with standard chemotherapy. Anti-cancer drug treatments also help reduce or eliminate side effects associated with chemotherapy. Many new targeted therapies, including vaccines and gene therapies, are currently in development. Targeted therapies can make surgery easier when combined with radiotherapy.

 

Targeted Focal Therapy (TFT)

After identifying the exact location(s) of tumors within the prostate with a 3D staging biopsy, your surgeon inserts specialized cryo-probes to freeze the area, effectively killing the cancer cells. This minimally-invasive procedure is used to treat low grade, early stage prostate cancer with the goal of preserving urinary and erectile function. TFT patients return home the same day.

Hormonal Therapy

The presence of some hormones can cause certain cancers to grow. Hormone therapy is a cancer treatment that removes hormones or blocks their action and stops cancer cells from growing. If tests show that the cancer cells have places where hormones can attach (receptors), drugs, surgery, or radiation therapy are used to reduce the production of hormones or block them from working.

Immunotherapy

For men who have advanced prostate cancer that is not responding to hormonal therapies, new types of immunotherapy, including the use of Provenge, are being used. Immunotherapy trains the body's immune system to attack prostate cancer cells. The treatment involves removing the patient's own white blood cells, mixing the cells with a drug designed to target prostate cancer cells, and then re-infusing the treated blood.

Clinical Trials

Your medical team may also recommend that you participate in a clinical trial.

University of Colorado Hospital conducts hundreds of clinical trials in an ongoing effort to discover and deliver more effective treatment. They can provide access to the latest drugs and vaccines years before they are more freely available. As a collaborative medical campus, our goal is to get new discoveries to patients who will benefit from them as quickly as possible.

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