Duke’s prostate cancer experts use the latest medical and surgical therapies to treat your prostate cancer while preserving your urinary and sexual function. We are a high-volume referral center for hard-to-find and difficult-to-treat cancers, and explore all options to ensure you receive the best possible care while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. We help you improve your prostate health and return to an active life as quickly as possible.
Leaders in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer
When it comes to prostate cancer, there are no easy answers. Whom to screen for it, when and how to treat it, have long been controversial topics. We make it simple. We confirm a prostate diagnosis, even when prostate cancer is hard to find because the tumors are very small. We are experts at diagnosing these challenging cases.
Our specialized team develops a personalized treatment plan for you that preserves your urinary and sexual function. We explore all minimally invasive options before recommending surgical removal of your prostate or external radiation therapy. We offer minimally invasive treatments, such as cryosurgery — a type of focal therapy that targets a section of the prostate gland rather than the whole prostate — and high-dose radiation, which kills cancer cells in your prostate while preserving healthy tissue.
We are also strong advocates of active surveillance or “watchful waiting” for small, nonaggressive prostate cancer. We believe active surveillance is a safe and important course for certain men with prostate cancer.
Choose Duke for your prostate cancer treatment because we offer:
- National reputation. Our prostate cancer program combines two top-ranked programs. We are among the top 10 hospitals in the country for excellent urologic care, according to U.S. News & World Report, which ranks our cancer program among the nation’s best as well. We are one of the select centers designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, and we part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving care for our patients.
- Diagnostic center of excellence. We are a high-volume referral center because of our expertise in diagnosing hard-to-find or difficult cases of prostate cancer. If you have cancer, our team will find it and develop a personalized treatment plan for you.
- Excellent results from experience. We regularly see a wide variety of men with prostate cancer, from small tumors to the most complex cases. Our experience with so many types of tumors, combined with our high patient volume, helps us achieve outstanding outcomes.
- Surgical expertise. We offer the full range of minimally invasive surgical options, from cryosurgery and laparoscopy to robot-assisted procedures. Today, robotic prostate surgery is the gold standard for prostate cancer surgery. Duke was one of the earliest adopters of robotic surgery in North Carolina, and all of our robotic surgeons are fellowship-trained, meaning they studied an additional two to three years to become experts in urologic surgery.
- Leaders in focal therapy. We are studying all aspects of focal therapy, which is the male version of a "lumpectomy." It targets a section of the prostate gland, and kills the cancer while leaving the healthy tissue in place. Our work in the field of focal therapy, including access to clinical trials and cryosurgery, is making focal therapy options available to more people, and achieving better results.
- Team of specialists. Our prostate cancer team includes surgeons, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists who specialize in prostate and urologic cancers.
- Clinical trial access. You may be eligible to participate in clinical trials of new therapies that are not widely available. We are involved in the world’s first FDA study of the NanoKnife, a type of focal therapy for prostate cancer. This device uses an electric current to destroy tumors within the prostate. As a minimally invasive option, it allows you to avoid surgery and large incisions.
- A comforting environment. Our Duke Cancer Center features spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and a rooftop garden area where patients — based on their treatment regimen — can receive chemotherapy outdoors.
- We support you. Our comprehensive cancer support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. Learn more about our prostate cancer support groups.
Your doctor monitors your prostate cancer with periodic diagnostic tests, including prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, digital rectal exams and biopsies. We recommend "watchful waiting" for very small and slow-growing cancers that do not cause any symptoms.
Most prostate cancer surgeries remove the entire prostate and some surrounding tissue, in a procedure called a prostatectomy. We perform this surgery two ways:
- Radical retropubic prostatectomy. We operate through a single, small abdominal incision. Some patients are candidates for a laparoscopic approach, which requires five to six very tiny incisions. This minimally invasive technique leads to smaller scars, less pain and a faster recovery.
- Robotic prostate surgery. Removes the prostate and tissue with the assistance of tiny, robotic instruments that allow your surgeon to operate with extreme precision.
Relieves symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate by removing any prostate tissue blocking urine flow.
Freezes and kills prostate tissue by inserting cooled argon into the prostate with a needle. Using ultrasound pictures as a guide, your doctor can freeze and treat your entire prostate without the need for surgery. Cryosurgery is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure.
The primary treatment for small, early-stage prostate cancer. Reduces tumor size or relieve symptoms in advanced cases. Highly focused radiation therapy uses advanced imaging technology focuses radiation beams directly onto your tumor, and takes into accounts its size and shape. We use 3-D conformal radiation therapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
Delivers very high doses of radiation from implants placed inside your body near your prostate tumor.
Kills or slows the growth of cancer cells in cancers too advanced for treatment with surgery or radiation therapy alone. Chemotherapy may also be used to help relieve symptoms.
Medication or surgical removal of the testicles (orchiectomy) reduces how much testosterone and dihydrotestosterone your body produces. These two hormones help prostate cancers grow. Hormone therapy may help shrink tumors or slow the growth of cancer cells left behind after surgery or radiation therapy.
Blood test that measures levels of PSA produced by your prostate. High levels may indicate cancer.
Your doctor inserts a surgically gloved finger into your rectum to exam your prostate.
A needle inserted into your prostate collects a tissue sample that can be analyzed for the presence of cancer.
Specialized MRI exam that can determine the size, location and aggressiveness of tumors within the prostate.