Prostate Health 101

Baptist Health Care is committed to our community’s health and wellness. We provide free information and education to encourage an active, healthy lifestyle. For the men in our community, understanding prostate health – risk factors for cancer, disease prevention and treatment options – is critical.

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. About the size of a walnut, it surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate produces a fluid component in semen.

Should I be concerned about prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Prostate cancer most often occurs in men age 65 and older. Studies also show that the risk of prostate cancer is significantly higher in African–American men and men who have a family history of prostate cancer.

Risk Factors

  • Age
  • Family History
  • Race/Ethnicity

What should I do?

The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their doctor about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. Research has not yet proven that the potential benefits of testing outweigh the harms of testing and treatment. The American Cancer Society believes that men should not be tested without learning about what we know and don’t know about the risks and possible benefits of testing and treatment.

Starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. If they are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, men should have this talk with a doctor starting at age 45. If men decide to be tested, they should have the PSA blood test with or without a rectal exam. How often they are tested will depend on their PSA level.

What are some treatment options?

If prostate cancer is found, the Baptist Cancer Institute provides a variety of innovative treatment options. Treatment options are unique to each person depending on age, stage and type of cancer, and other medical conditions. Minimally invasive surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or radioactive seed implants are the most prescribed treatments for prostate cancer. Your doctor can help you make sound decisions, based on the best treatment plan for you.

What’s the least invasive surgical approach?

If your doctor recommends surgery to treat your prostate cancer, ask about a less invasive approach called robotic prostatectomy . As the first hospital to offer the da Vinci® S HD Surgical System, Baptist Hospital enables your physician to perform more precise surgery with better results. Robotic surgery’s precision also helps many men maintain bladder control and potency.

For most patients, robotic prostatectomy offers numerous potential benefits over traditional prostatectomy including:

  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Less pain
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Less blood loss and transfusions
  • Less scarring
  • Faster recovery
  • Quicker return to normal activities