Prostate Cancer

#1 community program in Georgia for newly diagnosed and/or treated prostate cancer cases
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As Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive cancer care provider, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute (NHCI) diagnoses and treats more new prostate cancer patients than any other community cancer program in Georgia. Thanks to the most powerful combination of doctors, facilities and resources, we are ranked among the top 10 prostate cancer programs in the country.

Our Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program is committed to providing patients with the most advanced resources available to diagnose and treat prostate cancer. Annually, we screen over 850 men for prostate cancer with the hopes of catching it as early as possible.

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer affects men and starts in the prostate gland. The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped structure that makes up part of a man's reproductive system. It wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.

Learn more about prostate cancer.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

With early prostate cancer, there are often no symptoms. Symptoms of prostate cancer typically occur as the cancer grows larger in the prostate, although many of these symptoms can be caused by other prostate problems as well.

Symptoms of prostate cancer may include:

  • Slow or weak urinary stream
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pain in the hips, back (spine), chest (ribs), or other areas from cancer that has spread to the bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs and feet
  • Need to urinate more often, especially at night
  • Trouble getting an erection

Learn more about prostate cancer symptoms. 

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors & Prevention

Risk Factors

Prostate cancer will affect one in every nine men and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men. The older a man is, the more likely he is to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although prostate cancer is rarely found in men younger than 40, the rate of developing prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. Nearly 60 percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. Additionally, the risk of prostate cancer is 74 percent higher in men of African descent than in white men for reasons that remain unclear.

Age is the primary—but not the only—risk factor for prostate cancer. Other prostate cancer risk factors include:

  • Men of African descent
  • Family history of prostate cancer (father, brother or son) – especially if multiple family members have been diagnosed
  • Increased risk if family member was diagnosed before the age of 55
  • Genetic risk factors – a family history of other cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer or pancreatic cancer
  • Obesity
  • Lifestyle
  • Dietary habits

A common problem in almost all men as they grow older is an enlarged prostate. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. It does not raise your risk of prostate cancer. But, it can increase your  prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test result.

Learn more about prostate cancer risk factors. 

Cancer Genetics Program

Northside Hospital's Cancer Genetics Program is available to patients interested in genetic counseling and testing due to strong personal or family histories of prostate, breast, gynecologic, colorectal and pancreatic cancers. Our team of certified genetic counselors helps patients assess, understand and reduce the risk of developing certain types of genetically influenced cancer such as prostate cancer. For additional information, please call 404-851-6284 or email [email protected].


The ultimate goal is to prevent men from developing prostate cancer. However, currently there is no proven recommendation or strategy to prevent prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer can be found early using a simple blood test that looks for elevated  prostate-specific antigen (PSA). It is important to remember that many factors can affect PSA levels, so an elevated PSA does not always indicate cancer.

Some experts believe that diagnosing prostate cancer early – when treatment might be most effective – saves lives. Others question whether the benefits of screening outweigh the potential harmful side effects of treatment.

All experts agree men should be given access to information about the pros and cons of PSA testing so that they can make informed decisions based on their own values and preferences.

Prostate Cancer Screening & Diagnosis


Although there is no guaranteed prevention against prostate cancer, regular prostate cancer screenings are pivotal to detecting it early, when the disease is most treatable.

A prostate cancer screening consists of a simple blood test to measure the amount of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in the blood.

Beginning at age 40, men should discuss the pros and cons of a prostate cancer screening with a physician, especially if considered to be at higher risk for prostate cancer. Click on the button below to learn more about the benefits, risks and other frequently asked questions about PSA testing for prostate cancer.

PSA Testing for Prostate Cancer FAQs (English)

PSA Testing for Prostate Cancer FAQs (Spanish)

Community Prostate Cancer Screenings

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute (NHCI) holds multiple prostate cancer screenings (PSA blood tests) for community members each year at several convenient locations throughout Georgia.

Men who meet the following criteria are eligible to register and attend NHCI community prostate cancer screenings:

  • Men who are between the ages of 45-75
  • Men who do not have a prostate cancer diagnosis
  • Men who have not had a PSA blood test within the past year

To register for an upcoming Northside Hospital community prostate cancer screening, please call 404-531-4444. Qualified interpreters are available to assist you at each screening event. Please inform registration staff members of your language preference.

View upcoming dates for our prostate cancer screening events on our Classes & Event Calendar.

Prostate Cancer Screening Schedule (English)
Prostate Cancer Screening Schedule (Spanish)

Men are encouraged to make an informed decision with their health care provider regarding the appropriateness of prostate cancer screening.


For American men, prostate cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer, behind only lung cancer.

A biopsy is needed to diagnose prostate cancer. A doctor may recommend a biopsy if:

  • Patient has a high PSA level
  • A digital rectal exam reveals a hard or uneven surface

The results of prostate cancer screenings are reported using what is called a Gleason grade. The Gleason grade tells how fast the prostate cancer might spread, grading tumors on a scale of 1 - 5. There may be different grades of prostate cancer in one biopsy sample. The two main grades are added together to calculate the Gleason score. The higher the Gleason score, the more likely the cancer is to have spread past the prostate:

  • Scores 2 - 5: Low-grade prostate cancer
  • Scores 6 - 7: Intermediate-grade prostate cancer (most prostate cancers fall into this group)
  • Scores 8 - 10: High-grade prostate cancer

After a diagnosis of prostate cancer occurs, a CT scan or  bone scan may be performed to determine whether the cancer has spread.

Learn more about prostate cancer diagnoses.

Team of Prostate Cancer Specialists

The strength of Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program is our multidisciplinary team of specially trained prostate cancer specialists who work together every step of the way to provide personalized medical care for each prostate cancer patient. Our Program offers a comprehensive scope of medical services, the latest technology, leading-edge clinical research and compassionate cancer care.

At Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, cancer specialists work together to provide the best care possible to patients diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Our prostate cancer multidisciplinary care team consists of:

  • Urologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Certified genetic counselors
  • Oncology nurse navigators
  • Clinical research nurses

Our prostate cancer multidisciplinary team of experts meets regularly to prospectively discuss prostate cancer cases and agree upon evidence-based prostate cancer treatment options for each patient. This provides our medical specialists with a forum to discuss prostate cancer cases, national treatment guidelines, and each prostate cancer patient’s unique life circumstances.


Prostate Cancer Treatment Options

Northside Hospital Cancer Institute is committed to providing high quality prostate cancer treatment options and to making access to cancer care as convenient as possible.

We treat prostate cancer with the latest treatments, including personalized therapies based on the prostate cancer’s specific genetic makeup. Northside Hospital Cancer Institute prostate cancer specialists and supportive care team members work together to ensure all patients receive high quality, evidence-based prostate cancer treatment.

For more information about prostate cancer treatment, please expand the content below.

Prostate Cancer Support & Survivorship

Prostate cancer treatment and recovery can be overwhelming, which is why the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute’s Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program offers patient access to oncology nurse navigators to guide them through every step of their journey. Our oncology nurse navigators are registered nurses with extensive knowledge and training in oncology. They are available to help guide patients after diagnosis and through prostate cancer treatment, educating and supporting them to make informed decisions, while working with urologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and other cancer specialists on the prostate cancer care team to coordinate each patient’s treatment plan.

Support provided by our NHCI oncology nurse navigators includes access to emotional and psychological support such as referrals to the right counseling services and cancer support groups.

To learn more about  oncology patient navigation or to speak with an oncology nurse navigator, please call 404-300-2800 or email [email protected].

Ongoing support is crucial when you are facing prostate cancer and afterward. Northside Hospital Cancer Institute provides a full range of  support and survivorship programs and services to address the unique needs of each prostate cancer patient.


Prostate Cancer Patient Stories