Urology Austin

What is prostate cancer?

prostate cancer

Prostate cancer affects one in eight American men. In its early stages, it can be asymptomatic (without symptoms), and contained within the prostate gland. Early detection continues to improve as men adhere to screening recommendations. However, due to its high incidence, prostate cancer is a significant health-care problem, and a leading cancer among men.

Current guidelines suggest that men begin prostate screening when they reach their 50s. For African American men, and men who have family history of this cancer, screening should begin by the age of 45. Today, the average age of men being diagnosed is 66.

When prostate cancer develops, it is generally diagnosed as an adenocarcinoma – a cancer that develops in mucus-secreting glands such as the prostate. However, it can also be classified as:

Risk factors

  • Age – Risk increases with age. The average age for initial diagnoses is 66.
  • Race and/or Ethnicity – African-American men are more often affected than men of other races. Men who are Asian-American or Hispanic/Latino experience fewer cases than non-Hispanic whites.
  • Nationality – This cancer is more prevalent in North America, parts of Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.
  • Family History and/or Genetics – This is one among several hereditary cancers. Any man with close relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer is at an increased risk.
  • Diet and Obesity – Scientists continue to study the role of diet and obesity with cancer risk.
  • Smoking – Scientists continue to study how smoking affects this cancer’s incidence and death.
  • Exposure to Chemicals – The link between prostate cancer and Agent Orange exposure, during the Vietnam War, continues to be studied.


The baseline diagnostic tools used for screening include the PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). The PSA blood test screens for high levels of the prostate specific antigen protein in blood. The DRE is a physical examination of the prostate’s size and shape. Unusual nodules can also be located during this exam.

Early detection is key to diagnosing and effectively treating prostate cancer. If you would like to schedule an evaluation, contact the Urology Austin office nearest you.

Watch Dr. Eric Giesler, Urologist at Urology Austin and Dr. Niraj Pahlajani, Radiation Oncologist at the Austin Center for Radiation Oncology, host a webinar on prostate cancer, prostate cancer treatments including Radiation Therapy, and SpaceOAR. SpaceOAR – or Organ at Risk. SpaceOAR is a hydrogel that is injected between the prostate gland and rectum to protect the rectum from radiation exposure during treatments. This webinar was hosted by Boston Scientific and presented in June 2022.


Watch Dr. Eric Giesler’s interview on KVUE TVs “Spotlight ATX”. Dr. Giesler discusses the importance of prostate cancer screening and treatment options including surgery and radiation therapy. He also discusses how men undergoing radiation can have SpaceOAR hydrogel inserted between the prostate and the rectum to protect their rectum during radiation therapy.


Watch Dr. David Cuellar’s interview by KVUE-TV during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Cuellar discusses prostate cancer statistics, screening and treatment options. Air date: September 2021


September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Peter Ruff, Urologist at Urology Austin, discusses prostate cancer statistics, screenings and treatment options including da Vinci Single Port robotic surgery. Air date: September 16, 2021

Prostate Cancer Webinar

Watch Dr. Varun Sundaram’s webinar titled Prostate Cancer: Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Options. This webinar was hosted by Ascension Seton Northwest Hospital in December 2021.

Click here to watch the video

Related links

Centers for Disease Control – Prostate Cancer Statistics

ZERO Prostate Cancer Drive – This program provides transportation-related financial assistance to prostate cancer patients in Texas who are currently undergoing treatment, receiving follow-up care, or attending ongoing provider appointments due to a prostate cancer diagnosis.

Visit our prostate cancer resource page