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Understanding Prostate Cancer

4 Things You Can Consider if You’ve Been Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

(Read time: 6 minutes)
This article is not intended to replace professional medical care or advice. If you have any questions or need additional information, please talk with your doctor.

It can come as a shock: You or a loved one has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. A prostate cancer diagnosis may leave you and your family members feeling numb, frightened, angry, or even confused.1

Experiencing different feelings is a normal part of coming to terms with cancer. Everyone reacts in their own way.1

Treatments for prostate cancer have improved over time. Many men have successfully beat prostate cancer and entered remission. In fact, prostate cancer has a 5-year relative survival rate of 97%.2

It’s important to know your options and prepare to take your next steps. Here are four things you can consider if you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer:

1. Learn about staging and risk assessment

Prostate cancer may be detected through screening, such as by testing prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, or digital rectal exam (DRE) findings.3

Doctor and patient consultation.A prostate biopsy is the method used to diagnose prostate cancer. In the procedure, a small sample of tissue is taken from the prostate, then examined by a pathologist. If the biopsy contains cancer cells, a pathologist assigns a grade. Since prostate cancers often have areas with different grades, pathologists assign two grades to the two parts of the biopsy that comprise most of the cancer. Those grades are added to yield the Gleason score. A Gleason score of 6 or less is low grade, 7 is intermediate grade, and a score of 8 to 10 is high grade cancer.4

A TNM staging system, used for cancer staging, may also be used to determine how far prostate cancer has spread using five key pieces of information:5

  • The extent of the main tumor
  • The extent of spread to the lymph nodes
  • The presence of metastasis, or spread of cancer into the body beyond the prostate
  • The PSA level
  • The Grade Group (based on the Gleason score)

Learn more about grading and staging prostate cancer.

2. Understand treatment options and risks

Every person’s situation is unique, so it’s important that you fully understand your diagnosis, including your prostate cancer stage, and discuss your treatment options with your doctor.

Three types of prostate cancer treatment include active surveillance, radiation therapy, and surgical removal (called a prostatectomy).6–8 There are benefits and risks to each treatment option.

SpaceOAR™ Hydrogel is a polyethylene glycol (PEG) based hydrogel clinically shown to help minimize urinary, sexual, and bowel side effects and maximize the quality of life for prostate cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.9–11 Learn more.

3. Know your healthcare team

If you’ve been seeing your primary care doctor, you may be referred to a urologist, a doctor who treats conditions of the genital and urinary tract, including the prostate. Having the right doctor or specialist is important in making your treatment and care decisions. Keep in mind your treatment plan can last months or even years. For example, for some men, active surveillance for prostate cancer can last for years.6

Find a Doctor Near You Who Offers SpaceOAR Hydrogel

Get started by entering your ZIP Code and click submit. You will be redirected to a map view showing you the nearest doctors to your location.
*Please note, there may be other doctors in your area who treat prostate cancer not listed here.


4. Find support after a diagnosis

Coping with a prostate cancer diagnosis can be difficult. You may feel numb, frightened, angry, or any number of emotions. Talking to your friends and family can help and support you.1

You’re not alone. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, after skin cancer.12 About 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates about 288,300 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. alone.12

In addition to speaking with family, friends, and your community, you may consider joining a support or advocacy group. This can connect you with a community of like-minded people who understand what you’re going through.

Resources for patient advocacy and support

This material is for informational purposes only and not meant for medical diagnosis. This information does not constitute medical or legal advice, and Boston Scientific makes no representation regarding the medical benefits included in this information. Boston Scientific strongly recommends that you consult with your physician on all matters pertaining to your health.

  1. Coping and Support When You Have Prostate Cancer. Cancer Research UK. Accessed October 11, 2022.
  2. Survival Rates for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed March 29, 2023.
  3. Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  4. Tests to Diagnose and Stage Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  5. Prostate Cancer Stages. American Cancer Society. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  6. Observation or Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  7. Surgery for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed May 11, 2022.
  8. Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer. American Cancer Society. Accessed March 4, 2022.
  9. Mariados N, Sylvester J, Shah D, et al. Hydrogel spacer prospective multicenter randomized controlled pivotal trial: Dosimetric and clinical effects of perirectal spacer application in men undergoing prostate image guided intensity modulated radiation therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Aug 1;92(5):971–7.
  10. Hamstra DA, Mariados N, Sylvester J, et al. Continued benefit to rectal separation for prostate radiation therapy: Final results of a phase III trial. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2017 Apr 1;97(5):976–85.
  11. Karsh LI, Gross ET, Pieczonka CM, et al. Absorbable hydrogel spacer use in prostate radiotherapy: A comprehensive review of phase 3 clinical trial published data. Urology. 2018 May;115:39–44.
  12. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer—Prostate Cancer Facts. American Cancer Society. Accessed October 12, 2022.

Caution: U.S. Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel is intended to temporarily move the rectal wall away from the prostate during the course of radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, and in creating this space it is the intent of SpaceOAR Hydrogel to reduce the radiation dose affecting the rectum.

SpaceOAR Hydrogel contains polyethylene glycol (PEG). As with any medical treatment, there are some risks involved with the use of SpaceOAR Hydrogel. Potential complications associated with SpaceOAR Hydrogel include, but are not limited to: pain associated with injection, pain or discomfort from the hydrogel, site inflammation, infection (including abscess), inability to urinate, urgent need to urinate, constipation, rectal muscle spasm, damage to lining of rectum, ulcers, fistula (a hole between rectum and bladder, urethra, or skin below the scrotum), perforation (hole in prostate, bladder, urethra, rectum), necrosis (dead tissue), allergic reaction (local reaction or more severe reaction, such as anaphylaxis), embolism (blood vessel blockage is possible and may happen outside of the pelvis, potentially impacting vital organs or legs), fainting, and bleeding. Please talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits related to using SpaceOAR Hydrogel. If one or more of these complications occur, you may need medical treatment or surgery. URO-1288805-AA

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