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Prostate cancer

Expert prostate cancer treatment in Minnesota and western Wisconsin

If you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Over 10% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, making this one of the most common cancers in men. We’re here to help you get answers, understand your options and guide you through every step of your prostate cancer treatment. And with modern cancer centers in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, convenient, comfortable care is always close to home.

At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we know that effectively treating cancer goes beyond just the physical symptoms. We make sure you get the expert care you need for your physical, mental and emotional health with the latest in evidenced-based medicine, surgical techniques, advanced treatment options, research and integrative therapies. Our urologists, oncologists and other specialists work as a team to provide comprehensive care for even the most complex types of prostate cancer. We’ll create a personalized treatment plan with the best prostate cancer treatment options for you, which might include surgery, radiation or immunotherapy.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that starts in a man’s prostate gland. The prostate is a small gland about the size of a walnut that’s located between the bladder and the penis. It’s part of the male reproductive system and produces fluid that protects the sperm.

Scientists still don’t know what causes prostate cancer, but they do know that it’s usually a slow growing cancer. If it’s detected early, there’s a higher chance of successful treatment.

Symptoms of prostate cancer

Early prostate cancer doesn’t cause symptoms. A frequent urge to urinate, trouble urinating, blood in urine or semen, losing weight without trying, and other symptoms could be signs of advanced prostate cancer.

The best way to catch prostate cancer is with regular screenings. Screenings are often recommended for men starting at age 50. Talk with your primary care doctor about when you should start having prostate screenings.

Screening for prostate cancer

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test

A PSA blood test screens for signs of prostate cancer in men who don’t have symptoms. PSA is a protein made by the prostate gland. It’s normal to have some PSA in your blood, but higher amounts of PSA might indicate a higher risk of prostate cancer.

However, high levels of PSA don’t always mean cancer. There are other conditions such as an enlarged prostate that can elevate the levels of PSA in the blood.

During a PSA blood test, we’ll draw a small amount of blood to be tested in the lab. If high levels of PSA are found, we’ll talk to you about the recommended next steps, which may include a biopsy.

Diagnosing prostate cancer

Prostate biopsy

If your PSA levels are high, we might recommend a prostate biopsy. During a biopsy, a small sample of your prostate tissue is removed and examined in a lab. We’ll use local anesthesia during the biopsy to keep you as comfortable as possible. This test can confirm a cancer diagnosis, help determine the extent of the cancer and the likelihood that it will grow quickly.

Stages of prostate cancer

After you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, doctors will work to determine if it has spread, and if so, how far. This process is called staging, which helps determine how serious the cancer is and how best to treat it.

Your care team will confirm your stage and outline the best treatment plan for you.

Prostate cancer treatment

Advancements in cancer research have found that each person’s response to cancer treatment is unique. We recognize that no two people will respond to treatment in the same way, so we work closely with you to create a personalized treatment plan. Depending on the severity of your cancer, a combination of several types of treatment options may be needed. Our urologists and oncologists will work together to find the most effective combination for you. Some common treatment options include:

Active surveillance

Because prostate cancer can grow so slowly, we might recommend active surveillance. This means that we will monitor the cancer with regular tests. If we notice that the cancer has grown or might spread, we will recommend further treatment options. Active surveillance may be selected for low grade, small volume cancers in older men and is most commonly used when prostate cancer is detected early.


Sometimes, removing the prostate, called a radical prostatectomy, is the most effective treatment option. This procedure removes cancer cells by removing the prostate and some surrounding tissue. General anesthesia is used during surgery to keep you as comfortable as possible. Our expert urologists can perform even the most complex surgeries, including robotic-assisted surgeries. We’ll talk to you about which surgeries or procedures are recommended for your condition, answer your questions and help you prepare.


Radiation therapy uses beams of intense energy to destroy cancer cells or slow their growth in affected areas of the body. Cancer cells can’t heal from damage caused by radiation like normal cells are able to. Radiation therapy can be used alone or along with other treatments like surgery or chemotherapy.


Cryotherapy is a procedure where extremely cold temperatures are used to freeze and destroy cancer cells. During this procedure, we’ll place a small, metal tool inside the prostate and dispense a freezing liquid. The other parts of your body will be protected during the procedure so that only cells in the prostate are effected. We’ll use an ultrasound to locate and target cancer cells and limit the amount of healthy prostate tissue effected by the procedure.

Hormone therapy

A male hormone called testosterone is often necessary for prostate cancer to grow. Medications that decrease testosterone levels, sometimes called androgen suppression therapy, are used to decrease the levels of testosterone in the body. Androgen suppression therapy can shrink cancerous tissue or slow its growth. This treatment may be used in combination with other treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.


Chemotherapy, often called “chemo,” uses strong drugs to kill cancerous cells. It’s commonly used to shrink tumors or stop them from growing. Systemic chemotherapy medicines are taken orally or through an IV. It treats cancer cells throughout your entire body and might be recommended if cancer has spread.


This relatively new treatment, sometimes called biotherapy, uses medicines that kick-start your body’s natural immune response to cancer. There are different types of immunotherapy treatments. Some give your immune system an overall boost and some help your immune system specifically target cancer cells. Immunotherapy is often used alongside other treatment options for the best results.

Our cancer care services

During your cancer treatment, we help make sure that you and your family feel as comfortable and supported as possible. To do this, we offer a wide-range of services as part of personalized treatment plans, including integrative therapies, palliative care, nutrition services, genetic counseling, cancer rehabilitation and more.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)