Prostate Cancer

Prostate is a gland in the male lower urinary tract, and  is part of the male reproductive system. Cancer in the prostate is a relatively common disease amongst ageing men. It can spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, especially the bone and the lymph nodes, if not treated in the early stages.

It will not be until the later stages of the cancer that you may start experiencing the symptoms . The symptoms start to appear once it causes obstruction. You might struggle with passing urine, which may simply come out as droplets. This is accompanied by a feeling of fullness of the bladder even after you have emptied it. You may also feel an increased and rushed need to urinate more often, especially during nighttime.

As the cancer progresses, you may experience episodic fevers owing to recurring urinary tract Infections. In the advanced stages of the cancer, you may witness blood in your urine (haematuria) and semen (hemospermia) along with pain.

If the cancer spreads to the bones, it may cause pain in your back, hips, pelvis and other bones, making them vulnerable to fractures.  You may also lose control of your bladder and bowel movements, accompanied with a loss of sensation in the legs, which is an emergency requiring urgent medical attention.

Other symptoms include a sudden loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss and constipation. ​​

If you experience difficulties during urination, or irregularities in the urinary stream, consult a doctor working with the Kidney and Bladder​ or O​ncology​ Service Lines at the Aga Khan University Hospital. Be vigilant about any pain or blood during urination or ejaculation and report it. If you have a chronic pain in your lower body especially the hips, you should see a doctor. Take immediate action if the pain is followed by bone fractures. You should also watch out for unexplained weight loss and constipation.  ​​

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so makes sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. H​ere​ are some tips to help get you started. ​​​

The screening tests to diagnose prostate cancer are:

  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test: blood will be drawn and examined to measure the levels of PSA, produced by the prostate, in your blood.

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE): the doctor will insert a gloved finger inside your rectum to examine the prostate which is located adjacent.

The medical examiner will question you about your medical history and the prevalence of cancer in your family. You will undergo a physical examination including the DRE to help the medical examiner to feel for any lumps on the prostate.

In the event of high PSA levels, or an irregular DRE result, you will be directed to undergo a Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS).

If the PSA levels and DRE results are suggestive of cancer, you will be asked to undergo prostate biopsy for confirmation. If the results confirm for cancer, then the cancer will be rated along the Gleason system, which assigns a Gleason grade. 

To gauge the intensity of the cancer, you may be asked to undergo subsequent imaging tests to measure the spread of the cancer in the body. These tests usually include a bone scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the pelvis.​​​​

The K​idney and Bladder​ and O​ncology​ Service Lines at the Aga Khan University Hospital are equipped to provide state of the art treatment options for the cancer. If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, you will be offered a number of treatments to choose from.

  • If detected in the earlier stages, you might not need to undergo any treatment at all. Rather, you will be asked to closely monitor the growth of the cancer through PSA blood tests and frequent DREs. 

  • Surgery is the most common choice amongst patients, in case the cancer has not spread outside the gland. However depending upon your clinical parameters you may also opt for radiation therapy. Radiotherapy employs the use of high-energy rays or particles that kill the cancer cells. Your doctor will guide you in making the decision between surgery and radiotherapy.

  • In case the cancer cells have spread, you may require multimodality treatment, which can include radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and surgery. 

  • You will also be given the option to choose from hormone (androgen deprivation) therapy for prostate cancer. Androgens, or male hormones, stimulate the growth of prostate cancer cells. Hormone therapy reduces androgens in the body to minimize their effect on the tumor. 

  • If hormone (androgen deprivation) therapy is ineffective or not itself sufficient, you may be given the option of chemotherapy as a treatment for the cancer. This treatment employs the introduction of anti-cancer drugs either intravenously or orally. Chemotherapy is effective especially if the tumour has spread to other parts of the body. ​​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​​

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.