Prostate cancer – Diagnosis and treatment

Prostate cancer –
Diagnosis and treatment

Prostate cancer: What is it?

Cancer generally refers to malignant neoplasms caused by the degeneration of the body's own cells. Cancer cells are characterised by an altered cell structure, growing into surrounding tissue and the capacity to metastasise (metastases).

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, whereby 90 percent are older than 60 years of age at the time of diagnosis. The cause of prostate cancer is unclear.

If the prostate cancer is treated by surgery or radiation in the early stages, more than 80% of patients survive for 10 years and more, most can be considered cured. The disease can sometimes be brought under control for years and progression can also be delayed in advanced stages.

Prostate cancer: Symptoms and early detection

An annual manual examination by a physician is the only reliable way to detect changes in the prostate early. The identification of a protein formed in the prostate tissue (PSA = prostate specific antigen) in the blood can usefully complement the manual examination. As there are practically no early symptoms and the disease can be treated more successfully the earlier it is detected, an early detection examination is particularly important.

Prostate cancer: Diagnosis

If there is suspicion of prostate cancer, further examinations are conducted. Tissue samples are collected. After the histological diagnostic confirmation, the spread of the disease is determined through further examinations. In particular, these include an ultrasound examination of the prostate, a CT scan of the pelvis and a skeletal scintigraphy in relation to the histology and PSA level.

Prostate cancer: Treatment

The treatment depends on the spread of the tumour. In this respect, very small, rarely malignant tumours hold a special position. The alternative to the operative removal of the prostate is to "wait and see", which can be specifically advantageous to older patients: they are spared the strain of surgery and they live just as long. There are two equivalent treatment options for all other tumours affecting the prostate: operative treatment and radiation treatment from the outside.

If the disease is more advanced, surgery or radiotherapy come into consideration again. However, further treatment measures are then normally required to increase the chances of recovery. If the complete removal or destruction of the tumour tissue is not possible through surgery or radiotherapy, or if the cancer has already spread to other organs, medicinal therapies come into consideration.

You can obtain more detailed information on the detection and treatment of prostate cancer from our telephone info-line or by email. All contact details can be found on our Contact page.