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Prostate Cancer Program

Skilled Prostate Cancer Care at Mary Washington Healthcare available in Fredericksburg & Stafford

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly, and finding and treating it before symptoms occur may not improve men's health or help them live longer.

Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow uncontrollably. The prostate is a gland found only in males. It makes some of the fluid that is part of semen.

The prostate is below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The size of the prostate changes with age. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut, but it can be much larger in older men.

Just behind the prostate are glands called seminal vesicles that make most of the fluid for semen. The urethra, which is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis, goes through the center of the prostate.

Prostate Cancer Screening Tools

We recommend that men have their first screening exam at age 50.

The tests used for screening include:

  • DRE (digital rectal examinations)
  • PSA (prostate-specific antigen)

If these test results are unusual, your physician may have the tests repeated or have an ultrasound requested.

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Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer

High-energy rays (such as X-rays) and particles (such as electrons and protons) are used to kill cancer cells. In order to treat an advanced stage of the disease and shrink the tumor’s size, radiation therapy may be employed. The two main types are external beam radiation and brachytherapy (internal radiation).

Surgery for Prostate Cancer

We offer two convenient locations, with surgical options at each. Mary Washington Hospital is a 437-bed tertiary care center located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Stafford Hospital is a 100-bed community based hospital located just south of North Stafford.

Surgical options include the following:

  • Prostatectomy
  • Da Vinci Robotic Surgery
  • Cryotherapy

Both Mary Washington and Stafford Hospitals offer traditional prostatectomy. This procedure is performed by experienced, board-certified urology surgeons, many of whom are also fellowship-trained.

Chemotherapy for Prostate Cancer

Chemotherapy is rarely the primary therapy for men with prostate cancer, but it may be used when prostate cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, especially if hormone therapy is no longer effective. Your medical oncologist will determine how long and how often chemotherapy treatments are necessary, if at all.

Hormone therapy is an alternative option for patients. Male hormones such as testosterone cause prostate cancer cells to grow. The reduction of hormone levels can sometimes make the prostate cancer shrink or slow its growth. The goal of hormone therapy is to lower the level of male hormones in the body. Hormone therapy isn’t a cure for cancer, but is often used in the treatment of those whose cancer has recurred or spread after treatment.

We Are Here to Help

For more information or to talk with a Cancer Nurse Navigator, please call 540.741.1211.
Our Cancer Nurse Navigators can help with:

  • Answering questions and providing educational materials on cancer and specific types of cancer
  • Explaining your diagnosis and treatment, every step of the way
  • Emotional support, including one-on-one time, and recommendations for counseling services
  • Expedited scheduling and coordinating of diagnostic test and physician appointments
  • Coordination on your plan of care between your primary care and oncology physicians
  • Access to clinical trials
  • Recommendations on resources for nutrition, rehabilitation, transportation, support groups, financial assistance, and spiritual and emotional guidance
  • Making important connections with community support services and resources
  • Survivorship support

For more information, or to talk with a Cancer Nurse Navigator, please call 540.741.1211.

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