What is prostate cancer?

Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells that form in one area and can spread throughout the body. Prostate cancer causes no symptoms in its early states. If you have urinary symptoms, there are more likely to be because of another health problem.

Prostate cancer is when cells in the prostate change and grow out of control. These cells may form a tumor, noncancerous growth, atypical cells, cancer and metastatic cancer. Most prostate cancers occur in men who are older than 65.

The prostate is a gland that is just below the bladder and part of the male reproductive system. Problems with the prostate become more common as a man ages and can include prostate cancer, the common cancer in men. This cancer can often be cured or controlled, especially if it's found and treated early. A screening test can help find cancer. Screening tests can often help detect prostate cancer before it causes any symptoms.

What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

  • Age: As you grow older, your risk of developing prostate cancer increases.
  • Family history: If your father or brother has had prostate cancer, your risk of developing it is higher.
  • Race: African American men are more likely than other men to develop prostate cancer; they are also more likely to die of prostate cancer than other men with the disease.

Prostate cancer treatment

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Baylor Scott & White Health offers minimally invasive procedures, such as robot-assisted surgery, to care for prostate cancer. We also offer innovative nonsurgical therapies for the treatment of prostate cancer. At Baylor Scott & White, you'll receive compassionate, quality care throughout all stages of your cancer treatment.

Your treatment plan will be determined by your care team based on age, medical history, type and stage of prostate cancer, and personal preferences. Prostate cancer treatment options may include:

  • Surgery
    • Radical prostatectomy
    • Transurethral resection of the prostate
    • Cryosurgery
    • Laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
    • HoLEP procedure
  • Chemotherapy
  • External beam radiation therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Angiogenesis inhibitors
  • Vaccine therapy
  • Active surveillance
  • Pain management
  • Clinical trials (when appropriate)

Prostate cancer surgery​


Your integrated care team may recommend the surgical removal of your prostate, as well as other treatments. Baylor Scott & White – Temple uses minimally invasive techniques whenever possible and appropriate, based on your condition.

Conventional open surgery

In some cases, minimally invasive operations are not an option and your surgeon may determine that conventional open surgery is the best choice for you.

As with all operations, there are some risks your surgeon will discuss with you.

Radical prostatectomy

Radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of your prostate and surrounding tissues. In some cases, your surgeon may remove adjacent pelvic lymph nodes to check for the presence of malignancy.

Our fellowship-trained urologic surgical oncologists perform three kinds of operations to remove your prostate:

  • Robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy
  • Traditional laparoscopic prostatectomy
  • Conventional open surgery

Your physician will discuss which option is best for you.

Robot-Assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy

A robot-assisted prostatectomy is minimally invasive and nerve-sparing. Our expert urologic surgical oncologists employ daVinci® robotic surgery equipment. Advantages of the robotic surgical equipment are:

  • “Wristed,” or having the ability to move inside your body with seven degrees of freedom (standard laparoscopic instruments move with only four degrees of freedom)
  • Can replicate any movement of your surgeon’s hand in all directions
  • Allows your surgeon to view inside your pelvic area with up to 10x magnification
  • Increased maneuverability makes it easier for your surgeon to successfully perform this nerve-sparing operation

You have delicate nerves and blood vessels located on the left and right sides of your prostate near your rectum. These nerves and blood vessels:

  • Play a key role in the complex physiology of erections
  • Can be separated from the prostate and “spared” in most cases of clinically localized prostate cancer

Most patients with clinically localized prostate cancer are candidates for robot-assisted surgery. In some cases, severely overweight patients may not qualify. Some patients who have undergone previous abdominal or pelvic surgery may not be candidates for robot-assisted surgery.

Your surgeon will discuss whether robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery is a good option for you.

Prostate cancer surgery

Your integrated care team may recommend the surgical removal of your prostate, as well as other treatments. Baylor Scott & White – Temple uses minimally invasive techniques whenever possible and appropriate, based on your condition.

Traditional laparoscopic prostatectomy

In this minimally invasive surgical procedure, your urologic surgical oncologist will make several small incisions in your abdomen or perineum and remove your prostate and some surrounding tissue.

The traditional laparoscopic approach offers a quicker recovery and a more favorable cosmetic result than a conventional open surgical approach.

What you can expect after your prostatectomy

At Baylor Scott & White – Temple, following your surgery for prostate cancer:

  • A prostate specimen will be sent to the lab for evaluation
  • A week or so later, your physician will discuss the pathology results with you
  • The report will detail the size and extent of your prostate cancer
  • Your physician will provide information regarding prognosis

Side effects of prostatectomy

Stress urinary incontinence, or involuntary loss of urine that occurs with:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Heavy lifting
  • Other physical activity
  • Impotence, or the inability to develop or maintain an erection

Most men will experience some stress incontinence after prostatectomy and find significant improvement within weeks. More than 90% of men are dry or socially continent at one year.

Most men experience impotence immediately after prostatectomy. This function may take several months and up to a year to return.

Indicators of a "cure"

The most important indicator of a “cure” is your first prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a blood test obtained around three months after surgery.

  • A desirable PSA is 0 after removal of a cancerous prostate
  • Any detectable or measurable PSA may mean that cancer is still present or has returned
  • Following treatment, you’ll have PSA screenings every four to six months for the remainder of your life
  • Your physician may recommend a biopsy at one year and another every other year unless there’s a change in your PSA

Monitoring your PSA closely allows your physician to watch for recurrence or spread (metastasis) of your prostate cancer.

Specialized centers for prostate cancer treatment

Baylor Scott & White Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center – Dallas

The Genitourinary Cancer Research and Treatment Center at Baylor Scott & White Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center – Dallas treats more genitourinary (GU) cancer patients than any other cancer program in the region and excels in the management of complex and advanced high-risk cases.

Baylor Scott & White Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center – Temple

Baylor Scott & White Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center – Temple, located in Temple, Texas, offers an integrated care team for GU cancer. The GU cancer team uses treatments including robotic, laparoscopic and macroscopic surgery and radiation therapy.