Resources at Hebrew SeniorLife

Prostate Cancer

Each year, nearly 219,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Approximately 27,000 will die from the disease. In fact, 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and almost 80 percent men over 80 years of age will get develop it.

Howard Nachamie, M.D., a geriatrician at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, says that patients have a better chance for successful treatment and minimal or short-term side effects if prostate cancer is detected early, when it is confined to the prostate gland.


Cancer of the small, walnut-shaped gland in men that produces seminal fluid 


The causes of prostate cancer and why some types behave differently than others are unknown


  • Dull pain the lower pelvic area
  • Urgent urination
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Painful urination
  • Weak urine flow or dribbling
  • Frequent urination at night
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Loss of appetite and weight

Risk Factors

  • Age (risk increases significantly after age 50)
  • Family history
  • Race (African-Americans are at higher risk)
  • Diet high in fat
  • High levels of testosterone


  • Digital rectal exam
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test
  • Transrectal ultrasound
  • Prostate biopsy
  • Bone scan to detect if cancer has spread to the bones
  • Lymph node biopsy to determine if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes


  • External-beam radiation therapy
  • Prostatectomy
  • Brachytherapy
  • Hormone therapy to stop the production of male hormones that can stimulate the growth of cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Watchful waiting


Biopsy - the removal and examination of tissue, cells or fluids from the living body.

Brachytherapy - the implantation of radioactive seeds into the prostate gland to deliver a higher dose of radiation than external-beam radiation therapy.

Chemotherapy - the use of medications, delivered intravenously, to destroy rapidly growing cancer cells.

Cryotherapy - the use of small probes to destroy cells by freezing tissue.

Digital rectal exam- the insertion of a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the texture, shape and size of the prostate gland.

External-beam radiation therapy - the use of high-powered X-rays to kill cancer cells, using a machine to deliver the radiation beam.

Lymph node- small, bean-shaped organs of the immune system, which are found throughout the body and are involved in the immune system's fight against infection.

Prostate gland - a gland of the male reproductive system that produces seminal fluid.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test - a blood test that analyzes PSA, a protein produced by the prostate gland; higher than normal levels may indicate prostate infection, inflammation, enlargement or cancer.

Prostatectomy - surgical removal of the prostate gland.

Seminal fluid - fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

Testosterone - a male hormone produced by the testes that encourages the development of male sexual characteristics.

Transrectal ultrasound - a procedure in which a small probe is inserted into the rectum to take pictures of the prostate gland.


American Cancer Society -
Prostate Cancer Foundation -

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