Causes of Prostate Cancer

What Causes Prostate Cancer in Men?

Doctors aren’t sure exactly what the causes of prostate cancer are, but they know a lot more about its origins than they once did. They know that most cases of prostate cancer start when the DNA in prostate gland cells changes, causing the cells to grow abnormally.

For unknown reasons, nearly half of all men in their 50s or older have some small prostate gland cell irregularities called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). These irregularities usually don’t require treatment, and not all cases develop into prostate cancer. While doctors aren’t sure what can cause prostate cancer, they know that high-grade PINs have a 20- to 30-percent chance of becoming cancerous. For men with high-grade PIN, doctors might recommend a biopsy, PSA screening, and regular rectal examinations.

Highly Treatable With Early Detection

Prostate cancer cells, if they develop, tend to grow slowly. Even when doctors discover that a patient has prostate cancer, they might not start treating it right away. In most cases, doctors monitor the cancer’s growth, watching to make sure that it doesn’t spread to other parts of the prostate or other areas of the body.

If the cancer does begin to spread (or metastasize) doctors have several effective treatment options. Los Angeles doctors usually don’t administer chemotherapy for prostate cancer unless the cancer has entered the lymph nodes and spread to other parts of the body. Typical alternatives include hormone therapy, surgery, and radiation therapy.

Prostate Cancer Medications

Testosterone doesn’t cause prostate cancer, but prostate cancer cells need testosterone to grow. One way that doctors might treat prostate tumors is to cut off their supply of testosterone.

The brain signals the testicles to produce testosterone, and some medications can block those signals, lowering testosterone production. Other medications can help to prevent testosterone from getting to cancerous prostate cells. However, hormone therapy has side effects, and they can be unpleasant. They include hot flashes, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and weight gain.

Surgical Options

If cancer cells have spread throughout the prostate and are in danger of invading other body tissues, doctors might recommend removing the entire prostate. Prostate removal can eliminate what causes prostate cancer if the cancer hasn’t metastasized, but surgery can damage the delicate nerves in the prostate region. After surgery, men might experience urinary incontinence and difficulties with sexual functioning.

Radiation Therapy

Since doctors can’t yet determine what prostate cancer is caused by, they focus on treating it before it spreads. Radiation therapy is one of the most common and effective ways to address prostate cancer. Doctors might administer radiation treatment alone, or they might use it in combination with surgery or chemotherapy.

Internal Radiation (High-Dose/Low-Dose Brachytherapy)

Some doctors treat prostate cancer by inserting small pieces of radioactive material near cancer cells. In prostate cancer cases, brachytherapy is done through the use of tiny radioactive wires or seeds, which are inserted into the prostate through the rectum. Once the material has exhausted its radiation supply, it doesn’t have to be removed from the body.

External Beam Radiation

Doctors can use a number of machines to deliver external beams of radiation to prostate cancer cells. The CyberKnife System offers the most advanced delivery method for effective radiation treatment, and can be combined with surgery, if necessary. Treating prostate cancer requires extraordinary precision. Los Angeles doctors want to eliminate cancer cells without damaging the nerves so that men can continue to enjoy normal sexual function.

The CyberKnife System isn’t traditional radiosurgery as there’s no cutting or anesthesia required, instead high doses of external radiation are used to shrink tumors and kill cancer cells, pain-free and non-invasively. Although there are several machines that deliver image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), the CyberKnife System offers a unique combination of advanced technology. With real-time imaging, advanced tumor-tracking software and robotics, CyberKnife targets cancer cells with sub-millimeter accuracy and delivers radiation from angles that other machines can’t match.

  • Real-time imaging. Many IGRT devices rely on uploaded imaging scans that might not be up-to-date due to natural movement of the patient. The CyberKnife System takes an image before delivering any radiation beam, ensuring that it accurately targets the cancer without damaging healthy tissue.
  • Tumor-tracking software. In many parts of the body, cancer cells are always in motion because of breathing and natural organ movement. CyberKnife’s tumor-tracking software detects the tiniest movements from tumors. Patients don’t have to be placed in immobilizing or compression devices so that they remain still during treatment.
  • The intricate movements of CyberKnife’s robotics allow it to deliver radiation dosages from almost any angle. As a result, doctors can target cancer cells with incredible precision, and they can deliver higher radiation dosages to eliminate cancer more quickly. Patients can finish their radiation treatments in as few as one to five sessions with minimal, if any, side effects.

Make Your Appointment

We don’t yet know what causes prostate cancer, but we are able to provide effective treatment. Call our center at 626-768-1021 or fill out our convenient Web form to schedule your consultation and learn about your options.