Prostate Cancer: Know Your Risk
Sep 16, 2013
estimated one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer over
the course of his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.
Fortunately, if caught early the disease is highly treatable.
“Since there are no unique symptoms or signs of prostate cancer, it’s
very important to follow the recommendations of your primary care
physician or urologist to screen for the disease,” says Alexei Wedmid, MD,
a urologist on staff at University Medical Center of Princeton at
Plainsboro (UMCPP). “A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and a
digital rectal exam (DRE) will not definitively confirm or rule out
prostate cancer, and things like an infection, inflammation or a benign
prostate growth called BPH may affect PSA results, but screening is
still highly recommended as a first line of defense.”
The American Urologic Association’s (AUA) newest guidelines suggest
yearly screenings for men between the ages of 55 and 69, unless other
factors suggest a high risk of developing the disease, in which case
testing may begin as early as age 40. African-American men tend to be at
a higher risk, as one in three will be diagnosed in his lifetime.
Having a high body mass index (BMI) or a family history of prostate
cancer are also high risk factors. AUA recommends discussing with your
physician whether testing is right for you.
If an annual screening detects an abnormality, a prostate biopsy is
used to determine if cancer is present. If cancer is discovered,
advanced testing can now analyze genetic changes to help determine how
aggressive a patient’s prostate cancer is and what treatment options
will work best.
is important to remember is that prostate cancer treatment is a very
individualized process. Even if you are diagnosed with prostate cancer
through a prostate biopsy, not all prostate cancer needs to be treated.
But this can be determined only through close consultation with your
doctor,” says Dr. Wedmid, who is fellowship trained in da Vinci robotic
surgery for prostate and kidney conditions. “For some patients with
low-grade cancer, or even older patients with intermediate cancer,
active surveillance may be an option. For others, curative treatments
may include surgery or radiation, including image-guided radiation
therapies or state-of-the-art robotic surgery using the da Vinci
Surgical System. Chemotherapy and hormone therapy, along with radiation
or surgery, may be used in advanced cases.”
For assistance finding an urologist on staff with Princeton
HealthCare System, call 1.888.PHCS4YOU (1.888.742.7496) or visit