Urologist Dr. Joseph Marquez was recently featured on KOMO radio talking with Shannon O’Kelley, president of IRG Physical Therapy about prostate health and prostate cancer. Here is a recap from their interview.
Listen to Dr. Marquez discuss prostate health on KOMO radio.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a reproductive organ that secretes fluids that support the sperm in fertility and reproduction. It’s a small gland located between the bladder and urethra. Dr. Marques describes the prostate as a donut shape with the urethra going through the middle. Because of its location, the prostate can cause some common problems, such as pain or difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, and it can become cancerous.
How is prostate cancer diagnosed?
Most men don’t have early symptoms of prostate cancer. They are typically diagnosed with a blood test and/or physical exam by their primary care provider. Men who experience significant pain or discomfort may have a more advanced case, which is why early detection and regular doctor visits are important. The most common screening test for prostate cancer is the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) but there are others. Dr. Marquez believes both a physical exam and PSA in the appropriate patient are the best method of detection.
The PSA doesn’t confirm if a patient has prostate cancer but shows if he has an elevated risk. An experienced urologist can help determine if cancer is present, the type of cancer, and best way to treat it. The location of the prostate by the bladder, rectum, and urethra can make treatment challenging. Sometimes the risks outweigh the benefits of treatment. Dr. Marquez said he always aims to treat with the least collateral damage possible.
How is prostate cancer treated?
Serious cases or fast growing cancers can be treated with surgery and radiation. One tool Dr. Marquez uses to diagnose and manage prostate cancer is the Artemis biopsy robotic system. Using the system, he is able to take biopsies and MRI images, and then track them over time, noting any changes. Sometimes, if the cancer is limited and slow growing, active surveillance is the best approach so patients don’t suffer the consequences of more invasive treatments.