Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States, after skin cancer, and it can often be treated successfully. The prostate gland is found only in men. It is located below the bladder (where urine is stored) and in front of the rectum (the last part of the intestines). It is wrapped around the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2023. About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. About 6 in 10 cases are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older, and it’s rare to see cases of prostate cancer in men under the age of 40. Age-adjusted rates for new prostate cancer diagnoses have been falling about 1.3 percent each year from 2010 through 2019.

Our physicians are well versed in the treatment of prostate cancer, and our support staff will make your treatment journey as easy as possible. We have offices in Louisville and just across the river in Jeffersonville for your convenience. Learn more about our physicians.

Types of prostate cancer

Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas that develop from the cells that make the prostate fluid that is part of semen. Other types of cancer that can start in the prostate include sarcomas, transitional cell carcinomas, small cell carcinomas, and neuroendocrine tumors (other than small cell carcinomas).

Possible pre-cancerous conditions of the prostate

  • Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). In PIN, there are changes in the way the prostate gland cells look under a microscope, but those abnormal cells don’t look like they are growing into other parts of the prostate, as cancer cells would. PIN can be low-grade (the cells look almost normal) or high-grade (the cells look more abnormal).
  • Proliferative inflammatory atrophy (PIA). In PIA, the prostate cells look smaller than they should and there are signs of inflammation in the area. PIA is not cancer, but researchers think PIA may sometimes lead to high-grade PIN, or directly to prostate cancer.

Risk factors for prostate cancer

There are several factors that increase men’s risk of developing prostate cancer.




Family History


  • Age. Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than age 40, and the risk rises rapidly after age 50.
  • Race. In the U.S., prostate cancer occurs more often in Black men and Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races, while Asian American, Hispanic, and Latino men are less likely to get it.
  • Geography. Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean islands, while it’s less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. While the reasons for this aren’t clear, scientists think that at least part of the difference is due to more intensive screening for prostate cancer in high-income nations.
  • Family history. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing the disease.
  • Genetics. Mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes can raise prostate cancer risk—especially if the mutation is in the BRCA2 gene.

Radiation therapy for prostate cancer


Radiation therapy is usually the treatment of choice for prostate cancer, particularly recurrent prostate cancer. The best prostate cancer treatment centers will have radiation oncologists who personalize your treatment journey for you. This personalization is based on your age, the stage of your cancer, the tumor’s Gleason score, and the grade of your cancer (which tells your oncologist how fast the cancer is likely to grow). Your radiation oncologist will also talk to you about your personal preferences for your treatment.

There are three main types of radiation therapy for prostate cancer: external beam radiation, brachytherapy, and radiopharmaceuticals. The most effective forms of external beam radiation—when radiation from a machine is directed at a cancerous growth in the body—are image guided radiation therapy (IGRT) and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).

In brachytherapy, a needle is used to place radioactive seeds in the prostate gland. These seeds stay in place and slowly break down over time. This therapy will kill cancer cells while causing minimal damage to other tissues. Brachytherapy is typically used only in men with early-stage, slow-growing prostate cancer. It is not generally recommended for men with recurrent prostate cancer or cancer that is growing outside the prostate.

Advanced Prostate Treatment Options

Sometimes, a patient’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) may rise months or years after their initial treatment with surgery or radiation therapy. If this happens, your physician may recommend a course of IMRT (also known as salvage post-prostatectomy IMRT) to the prostate bed and surrounding tissue in order to eliminate any possible cancer cells.

For certain advanced prostate cancers, radiopharmaceuticals such as Pluvicto (lutetium 177) and radium 223 can be utilized for treatment. Radiopharmaceuticals attach to a protein called prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), which is found in large amounts on prostate cancer cells, and bring the radiation therapy directly to the cancer cells.

Information on this page is sourced from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute.

Prostate Cancer Resources

Are you being treated for prostate cancer? Here are some resources to help you better understand your treatment; how to prepare for treatment; and what to expect before, during, and after treatment occurs.

Cancers We Treat

Our physicians treat a wide variety of cancers. You can view the full list here, or you can click below to learn about the cancers we most commonly treat.


Radiation is often the treatment of choice for prostate cancer. It is used as the first line treatment for cancer that is low-grade and still confined to the prostate. It’s used as part of the first treatment for cancers that have grown outside the prostate gland and into nearby tissues. It is also used in cases of recurrent prostate cancer, and to help prevent or relieve symptoms in advanced cases. We offer intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for recurrence in selected patients, and radiopharmaceutical treatments including radium 223 and Pluvicto (lutetium 177).

Learn more about prostate cancer


Some people with breast cancer will need radiation in addition to other treatments.  Radiation therapy can be used after breast-conserving surgery to help lower the chance the cancer will come back in the same breast or nearby lymph nodes. It can also be used after a mastectomy, especially if the cancer was larger than about 2 inches, if cancer is found in many lymph nodes, or if certain surgical margins have cancer cells. It is also used when breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the bones, spinal cord, or brain.

Learn more about breast cancer


In select cases, stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for lung cancer can provide great benefits to patients with both small cell and non-small cell tumors that have not spread throughout the lung. It’s also useful when lung cancers have metastasized (spread) to other areas of the body like the chest cavity, brain, or other organs. It is used in non-small cell lung cancer before surgery to shrink the tumor, if the patient isn’t healthy enough for surgery, if the tumor has spread too far to be treated with surgery, and after surgery to kill any tumor cells that might still be in the body. For patients with small cell lung cancer, it’s used to treat the tumor and lymph nodes in the chest, for people who can’t tolerate chemoradiation, or it may be given prophylactically (as prevention) to help minimize the risk of the cancer spreading to the brain.

Learn more about lung cancer


According to the American Cancer Society, radiation therapy for bladder cancer is used after surgery that does not remove the whole bladder (such as TURBT). It’s also used as the main treatment for people with early-stage cancers who can’t have surgery or chemotherapy to try to avoid cystectomy (surgery to remove the bladder), as part of treatment for advanced bladder cancer, and to help prevent or treat symptoms caused by advanced bladder cancer.

Learn more about bladder cancer


Cancer can affect a lot of areas of the head and neck including the nose, mouth, tongue, salivary glands, throat, and larynx (voice box). It’s critical that these patients use a radiation oncology provider who is experienced in head and neck cancer medical procedures. Radiation is used in several ways to treat head and neck cancers. First, it may be used alone, for small cancers or people who can’t have surgery. It can be used before or after surgery, along with chemotherapy (chemoradiation), to kill any remaining cancer cells or shrink the size of large tumors, as well as for treating recurrences and ease symptoms.

Learn more about head and neck cancers


There are several types of skin cancer, the most common of which are basal and squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Radiation treatment for skin cancer can be used after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, to treat recurring or metastasized melanoma, or to provide palliative care. In the treatment of skin cancers, radiation can be combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery.

Learn more about skin cancer


Other types of cancer we treat include:

  • Brain Cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Colon & Rectal Cancers
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Gynecologic Cancers
  • Sarcoma
  • Hypopharyngeal Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Laryngeal Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Liver Cancer

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are referred for radiation therapy during your cancer care, you get to choose where to receive treatment. We are here to support and encourage you—call us today to schedule your first appointment with one of our radiation oncologists at the cancer center nearest to you.