Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer overview

You are at the center of everything we do at the Prostate Oncology Center at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Here, we surround you with a team of specialists who work together closely to provide expert, targeted care and compassionate support throughout your treatment and beyond.

We guide you every step of the way, combining our deep clinical expertise in prostate cancer with a commitment to meet your unique needs. Together, our scientists and clinicians — from UW Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center — provide hope for men with prostate cancer and their families not only in the Northwest but also around the world.

Why choose SCCA?

  • Multidisciplinary prostate cancer team
    We bring together experienced, nationally known urologic oncologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists who specialize in prostate and genitourinary cancers. You may choose to visit one of our specialists for a specific type of treatment or take a team approach.
  • Comprehensive prostate cancer treatment 
    Our doctors are experts in the full spectrum of complex treatments prostate cancer may require. Based on the unique characteristics of your tumor, your team may recommend active surveillance, watchful waiting, radical prostatectomy, proton therapy or other radiation treatment, hormone treatment, immunotherapy or chemotherapy, all available at SCCA.
  • Prostate cancer clinical trials
    To give you access to the most innovative therapies, SCCA unites the leading researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in prostate cancer clinical studies not available everywhere.
  • Advancing care through research
    The SCCA Prostate Oncology Center has set the standard of care for the nation, and we’re moving it forward. World-renowned investigators at the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research, a Fred Hutch–UW Medicine collaboration, have developed many new therapeutic strategies and are working to understand prostate cancer causes and progression, develop new prevention methods, devise innovative diagnostics and improve survival and quality of life. SCCA researchers are also on the Stand Up 2 Cancer Prostate Cancer Dream Team.
  • A national leader in cancer care
    SCCA is the leading cancer treatment center in the region and among the top nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report. 
  • NCI comprehensive cancer center
    We are a comprehensive cancer center, a designation from the National Cancer Institute that reflects our scientific leadership and the depth and breadth of our research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Second opinions

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, we recommend getting a second opinion before selecting a course of treatment. Getting a second opinion is more than a formality. It’s a valuable way to verify facts, like the stage, the location and even the existence of the disease. A second opinion may provide you access to new prostate cancer treatments or clinical studies that are available for men in your specific situation.

If you have received a prostate cancer diagnosis, a second opinion makes sense for the following reasons:

  • Prostate cancer can be a complex disease to treat, and there are many opinions about how best to treat it.
  • You have time. In most cases, prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease; in some cases, it may develop over a 10- to 20-year period and never move beyond the prostate. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you can most likely take one to three months to learn all you can to make a calculated, deliberate plan of action for treating your disease.
  • It’s important to avoid overtreatment. It’s been well documented1 that prostate cancer has been overtreated, meaning some men with the disease have undergone treatments they did not need. That’s one reason why Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is a proponent of active surveillance for dealing with slow-growing prostate cancer.
  • Changing treatment regimens is not always easy or possible. Once you start a course of treatment, it’s sometimes hard to change to something else, especially if you’ve elected surgery or radiation. So it’s important to be well informed and make the best possible decisions from the outset.

Take your time, and find a urologic oncologist you trust and a course of treatment you’re comfortable with. If you weren’t diagnosed at SCCA, request an appointment with one of our many prostate cancer specialists, who are all University of Washington faculty members. 

And if you received your diagnosis here at SCCA, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about getting a second opinion. They’ll be more than happy to provide you with a list of recommended doctors to consult with.

1. Roberto Daza, “Research Aims to Prevent Overtreatment of Prostate Cancer,” The Seattle Times, August 17, 2011.
Second opinions

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, we recommend getting a second opinion before selecting a course of treatment. 

Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic

Nearly 12 percent of men with advanced prostate cancer carry inherited genes that increase their risk for faster-growing forms of the disease that are more likely to spread. Knowing whether or not a man with prostate cancer carries a gene mutation associated with inherited cancer risk can help physicians select better and more effective treatment options.

The SCCA Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic provides counseling and genetic testing, if appropriate, for men with prostate cancer.

Learn More About the Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic

Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic

Knowing whether or not a man with prostate cancer carries a gene mutation associated with inherited cancer risk can help physicians select better and more effective treatment options.

Prostate Cancer Multispecialty Clinic

What is the Prostate Cancer Multispecialty Clinic?

The PCMC gives you a “home” where you can see a urologic oncologist, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist all on the same day. Our doctors are UW Medicine physicians who specialize in prostate cancer. They work with you as a team to plan and provide the care you need. 
The clinic is held once a week in the SCCA Genitourinary Oncology Center in the Surgery Pavilion at UW Medical Center – Montlake. 

As a new patient, you will get a thorough evaluation of your unique case. You will leave your appointment with a complete, personalized treatment plan and a clear set of next steps.

Along with your physicians, your PCMC team includes:

  • A pathologist and radiologist, who help with diagnosis and treatment planning
  • Nurses and nurse practitioners, who help provide your care
  • Research coordinators, who can explain clinical trials that are testing leading-edge therapies
  • A program coordinator, who ensures your care runs smoothly

At SCCA, we offer a wide range of supportive care services, like nutrition and physical therapy, to help you thrive. We also have genetics specialists who can help you understand cancer risk in your family and help us find features of your cancer that may affect your treatment plan.

Who is the PCMC for?

If you have high-risk, localized prostate cancer, the PCMC is designed for you. We also see patients with newly diagnosed, metastatic prostate cancer who have not yet (or very recently) started hormone therapy and some patients who have a rising prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level after surgery and radiation therapy.

Why? These people are most likely to benefit from having two or more types of treatment: surgery, medicine-based options (like chemotherapy and immunotherapy) and/or radiation therapy.

What will happen at my first appointment?

Your first appointment at the PCMC will usually take about four hours. You will spend about three hours with your physicians. We invite you to bring a friend or family member with you to help keep track of your questions and the information that your team gives you.

Here’s what you can expect to happen.

Hour 1 – Exam 

You will meet with an attending physician, fellow or resident doctor who will talk with you about your health history and do a physical exam.

Hour 2 – Team meeting

Your team of physicians will meet to talk with each other about your cancer and the most effective ways to treat it. During this time, you will be free to visit the Patient Resource Center and other UW Medical Center – Montlake amenities.

Your attending, resident or fellow will present the details they learned from talking with you and examining you. 

Your care team will review and explain the results of any biopsies, imaging scans and other tests you’ve had. 

Your urologic oncologist, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist will apply their experience and knowledge about the best treatment approach for people in your situation. 

Together, the team will design a treatment plan specifically for you.

Hours 3 and 4 – Recommendations 

You will meet one-on-one with each physician from your team. You will stay in the same room and the physicians will come to you. We will explain the treatment we recommend for you and why. We’re here to answer your questions and talk through your options so you can make decisions you feel good about. 

What happens next?

Before you leave, you will meet the PCMC program coordinator. We will schedule any appointments you need next. Your schedule will depend on your specific situation, but we’re here to handle the details and make the process as worry-free as possible for you.

Once treatment begins, our patients receive care at SCCA South Lake Union, UW Medical Center – Montlake or both.

Everyone on our team is used to partnering one-on-one with patients and their families to put in place the plans that are right for them. We want to help you understand as much as you wish to about your disease, your treatment and how care happens here — so you can focus on living your life.

Prostate Cancer Multispecialty Clinic

Many people with prostate cancer may have more than one type of treatment option, which means they need more than one type of physician. At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), we bring a team of genitourinary specialists together for you in one place: the Prostate Cancer Multispecialty Clinic (PCMC). It’s our one-stop shop, where we guide you through complex treatment decisions and provide seamless, comprehensive care.

Treatment

Prostate cancer is complex. There are a lot of things to think about before you and your physician choose a treatment plan. Experts at SCCA offer comprehensive prostate cancer care and can talk with you about your unique situation and the best prostate cancer treatment for you. 

Providers

At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes doctors, a team coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.

Clinical trials

For some people, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Access to clinical trials by researchers at SCCA and our founding organizations Fred Hutch and UW Medicine is one reason many patients come to SCCA. 

Our physicians and scientists are at the forefront of research to better prevent, diagnose and treat prostate cancer and to improve quality of life for survivors, including through the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research, a Fred Hutch–UW Medicine collaboration. 

Resources

There are many resources online for learning about your disease, as well as organizations that provide community and support for your cancer diagnosis. Health educators at the SCCA Patient and Family Resource Center have compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.

Prevention and early detection

Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in U.S. men. Early detection and improvements in therapy have resulted in a dramatic decrease in prostate cancer deaths (by 40 to 50 percent) since the early 1990s.

One of the best ways to detect prostate cancer early is through screening — testing to find the disease in men with no prostate cancer symptoms.