Prostate Diseases

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The expert urologists in UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Prostate Diseases Program are dedicated to delivering the best possible patient care and conducting research into the causes of and cures for diseases of the prostate gland.

Our innovative research and extensive clinical experience enables the UT Southwestern team to provide men with the best possible care for prostate diseases.

Advanced Care for Common Conditions

The prostate gland is a small organ that is part of the male genitourinary system. Located under the bladder, the prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube that drains urine from the bladder through the penis. The prostate gland’s primary function is to produce a component of the fluid that makes up semen. 

There are three basic kinds of prostate disease:

In North Texas, UT Southwestern’s urologists have the most experience with laparoscopic surgery for prostate cancer, and our team offers robotic surgery for prostate cancer. Because our physicians are studying a number of promising treatments, we can also offer eligible patients opportunities to participate in clinical trials.

Evaluation and Diagnosis of Prostate Diseases

In addition to an annual physical exam that includes blood, urine, and sometimes other laboratory tests, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society suggest that men talk with their doctors about their medical and family history of prostate disease, as well as about tests to evaluate their prostate health.

Recommended prostate tests generally include: 

  • Digital rectal examination (DRE): Typically conducted annually in men older than age 50. At age 45, men in high-risk groups – including African-Americans and men with a strong family history of prostate cancer – should speak with their doctors about whether having this exam earlier is recommended.
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: Typically conducted annually in men older than age 50. At an earlier age, men in high-risk groups – including African-Americans and men with a strong family history of prostate cancer – should speak with their doctors about having it earlier.

In men with atypical DRE or PSA results, physicians might repeat these tests or request additional studies such as:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scanning
  • Transrectal ultrasound (TRUS): Uses sound waves to create an image of the prostate, enabling urologists to visually check the gland for abnormalities such as enlargement and nodules, to evaluate prostate tumors, and to guide needle biopsies or nitrogen probes during cryosurgery.
  • Lymph node and/or prostate biopsy: A procedure that involves taking tissue samples with a needle or during surgery for examination under a microscope to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. A biopsy is required for confirmation of a cancer diagnosis.
  • Radionuclide bone scan: A nuclear imaging study that shows whether cancer has spread from the prostate gland to the bones. The scan involves an injection of radioactive material that helps to locate diseased bone cells throughout the entire body, suggesting possible metastatic cancer.

Our physicians might also conduct a cystoscopy, post-void residual volume test, urinalysis, urinary flow study, and/or urodynamic study to evaluate the prostate gland. 

Treatments for Prostate Diseases

While some prostate conditions can resolve on their own, others – such as prostate cancer – require treatment. UT Southwestern offers the most advanced therapies for prostate cancer, as well as a variety of treatments for noncancerous prostate conditions. These treatments include:

  • Medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, and medicines that relieve symptoms related to voiding
  • Physical therapy, prostatic massage, and frequent ejaculation
  • Prostate artery embolization: A less-invasive surgical treatment of BPH
  • Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP): Surgery performed through the tip of the penis to remove part or all of the prostate gland using electric current or a laser
  • GreenLight HPS™ laser therapy system: A minimally invasive procedure that uses a special high-energy laser to eliminate excess prostate tissue and seal the treated area
  • Rezūm® water vapor therapy: UT Southwestern was the first center in North Texas to offer this minimally invasive, FDA-approved procedure to shrink an enlarged prostate.