3 Mount Elizabeth #05-05
Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Singapore 228510

phoneTel: +65 6836 4045
faxFax: +65 6836 4046


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Prostate Cancer

In Singapore, more and more cases of prostate cancers are detected each year. This is probably due, in part, to increased health awareness among the public leading to more undergoing health screening. Most prostate cancers are detected through health screening.

In the early stages of prostate cancer, there are usually no symptoms. As such, early prostate cancer is usually diagnosed following health screening, which usually involves blood tests. One of the blood tests can detect a protein called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and this protein is produced by prostate cells. Both normal or cancerous prostate cells produce this protein. Hence, a high level of PSA does not necessarily imply the presence of prostate cancer. There is an ongoing debate as to the merits of screening for prostate cancer and it is best to discuss this with the attending doctor first.

Besides PSA, another way prostate cancer can be screened is by feeling the prostate. The prostate, which is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, can be felt by a doctor inserting a finger into the anus / rectum. The prostate may feel hard or nodular in cases of prostate cancer. Oftentimes, the prostate feels normal even in the presence of prostate cancer.

In the event of detecting a nodule in the prostate and / or raised PSA level, a prostate biopsy may be recommended. Prostate biopsy involves retrieving some tissue from the prostate and it is a procedure that can be done in the clinic under local anaesthesia. The tissue is then sent to the pathologist, a specialist who reviews tissues under microscopy.

Upon confirmation of the diagnosis of prostate cancer, the next step is to stage the cancer. Prostate cancer can be broadly divided into cancer that’s still confined to the prostate gland or cancer that has spread outside the prostate and / or to another part of the body, commonly the bones.

Treatment options vary depending on the stage of the cancer. For cancer confined to the prostate gland, treatment options include observation (also known as active surveillance), irradiation therapy, focal therapy or surgery. There are different types of surgery including robotic surgery.

Treatment for cancer that has spread usually involves the use of hormones, which have been shown to control prostate cancer cells. This is different from chemotherapy and the hormones can be administered via injection into the fat beneath the skin.

As there are many treatment options for prostate cancer, it is best to discuss with your doctor.