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Prostate Cancer: Home

What is Prostate Cancer?

The body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells as needed to keep the body healthy and functioning properly. Sometimes, however, the process goes wrong and cells become abnormal, forming more cells in an uncontrolled way. These extra cells form a mass of tissue, called a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign, which means not cancerous, or malignant, which means cancerous.

Prostate cancer occurs when a tumor forms in the tissue of the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate is about the size of a large walnut. It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. 

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:

  • a need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • inability to urinate
  • weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • painful or burning urination
  • difficulty in having an erection
  • painful ejaculation
  • blood in urine or semen
  • pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

Early prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms. To diagnose prostate cancer, you doctor may do a digital rectal exam to feel the prostate for lumps or anything unusual. You may also get a blood test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). These tests are also used in prostate cancer screening, which looks for cancer before you have symptoms. If your results are abnormal, you may need more tests, such as an ultrasound, MRI, or biopsy.

Treatment often depends on the stage of the cancer. How fast the cancer grows and how different it is from surrounding tissue helps determine the stage. Men with prostate cancer have many treatment options. The treatment that's best for one man may not be best for another. The options include watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy. You may have a combination of treatments.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among American men. Prostate cancer is common among older men and is rare in men younger than 40.

Source: MedlinePlus - Prostate Cancer
Image source: National Cancer Institute

Support Group

Prostate Cancer Discussion Group

The Prostate Cancer Discussion Group meets monthly and provides a forum for men to discuss their thoughts and feelings regarding prostate cancer, its treatment, and its impact on their lives. At the beginning of each session, there will be a brief presentation on topics related to prostate cancer and wellness.

Date and Time
2nd Monday of each month, 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
For upcoming dates and times, visit the Cancer Center calendar.

Location
317 West Pueblo Street - Sansum Clinic Board Room
Parking is available on the property.

This program is offered free-of-charge. All support groups are facilitated by professional staff. For more information, please call Adele Fergusson at (805) 886-8148.

Patient Navigation

The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara provides Patient Navigation services in order to assist patients on the journey to live with, through, and beyond cancer. Navigators serve as a liaison between individual patients and the various healthcare providers required for proper diagnosis, treatment, and disease management.

Navigators offer coordination of care throughout a cancer patient's experience, by:

  • Explaining medical procedures and providing cancer information
  • Ensuring medical appointments are scheduled and kept
  • Coordinating and streamlining insurance information
  • Identifying local resources and appropriate support
  • Enhancing communication between care providers

For more information, contact the Patient Navigation department at (805) 879-0660 or navigator@ccsb.org.

Oncology Social Work Services and Counseling

Cancer can involve significant psychological, social, and economic challenges for patients and their families. How and if these challenges are addressed is an important aspect of a patient’s care plan. The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara employs clinical social workers who provide emotional and practical support for patients, their families, and their friends. Oncology Social Workers can provide advocacy and referrals as well as individual and family counseling services.

Services are available at no cost and are available to anyone in our community, regardless of where they are receiving medical care. 

For more information, contact Rosario Campuzano, (805) 563-5852. 

Books at the Cancer Resource Library

For Caregivers and Partners

Resources provided by the Cancer Resource Library are for informational purposes only. The information in these materials may or may not apply to your specific condition, and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly encourage you to consult your healthcare provider to review anything you learn through these resources.


The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara with Sansum Clinic provides comprehensive cancer treatment and support programs for patients and families. We are recognized for medical excellence, a strong clinical research program, and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Cancer Resource Library
540 West Pueblo Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 563-5807 │ library@ccsb.org
www.ccsb.org