Prostate Health Program
Explore This Treatment Program
About This Program
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the Mass General Department of Urology among the best in the nation. Every year, our urologists manage care for thousands of patients in every specialty of male and female urology.
We developed the Prostate Health Program in response to the growing number of men experiencing prostate disorders. We provide outstanding patient care and break new ground in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of prostate disease.
Using the latest, effective therapies, we treat patients with prostate-related diseases including:
- Prostate cancer: In recent years, remarkable advances have been made in detecting and treating this disease. As a result, more patients diagnosed with prostate cancer are living longer and leading fulfilling lives
- Enlarged prostate: Also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), this non-cancerous disorder affects about half of men in their 50s and about 90 percent of men in their 70s and 80s. BPH sometimes causes urinary problems such as incontinence and voiding dysfunction. In many cases, we can help patients manage these symptoms with medications or other treatments
For patients who do not respond to conventional treatments, clinical trials can offer a promising (albeit investigative) treatment option.
Groundbreaking Research Efforts
Our urologists are recognized leaders in investigating the causes of prostate cancer and other prostate-related diseases as well as developing preventative methods and treatments for the full spectrum of urological diseases and disorders.
To improve outcomes and the quality of patient care, our urologists and scientists collaborate to develop more effective medications, innovative surgical techniques and more precise diagnostics, helping to improve and save more patients' lives.
Some of our research projects and breakthroughs include:
- Improving minimally invasive prostatectomy surgery to reduce side effects
- Enabling earlier detection of prostate cancer using genetic information and urinary biomarkers
- Investigating cancer-cell growth to develop more-effective medications
- Designing more sophisticated equipment for minimally invasive surgery
Research funding for these projects is provided by the National Institutes of Health and through organizations such as the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.
Personalized Care from a Team of Prostate Health Specialists
In the Department of Urology, our approach to treating patients is truly multidisciplinary. At other hospitals, a single doctor often guides the decision. At Mass General, multiple specialists examine each patient and reach a team recommendation on the most beneficial treatment.
Patient care begins with an evaluation by one of our urologists. For the initial appointment, please bring any existing medical records and test results (if applicable), including X-rays.
During the evaluation, you can expect:
- A review of your medical history, test results and notes from your referring physician and any other specialists on your treatment team
- A comprehensive physical examination
- An in-depth conversation about any symptoms you may be experiencing, such as incontinence, voiding dysfunctions or erectile dysfunction(ED)
- A discussion of your everyday activities and treatment expectations
To detect prostate cancer, we may perform a blood test to detect prostate-specific antigens or a biopsy. Most tests are noninvasive or minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis.
After carefully reviewing your symptoms and other health conditions, your physician will develop a personalized treatment plan, describe your treatment options in detail and answer all your questions.
Comprehensive Cancer Treatment
Our physicians participate in the multidisciplinary clinic of the Claire and John Bertucci Center for Genitourinary Cancers, where your care may be managed depending on the stage of your prostate cancer.
At this highly specialized clinic, our urologists work side by side with your entire cancer care team, which may include medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologists. Available at few other medical centers in the Northeast, this multidisciplinary approach enables us to provide cancer patients with outstanding, comprehensive and personalized care.
Innovative & Effective Therapies
Research breakthroughs at Mass General and other leading institutions have generated many new and effective therapies and a deeper understanding of prostate disorders. Novel technologies, new medications and less invasive procedures are regularly introduced.
As a result, fewer patients today are treated with conventional surgery. In fact, some patients with slow-growing prostate cancer can be treated with active surveillance, in which the physician closely monitors the condition and no surgery is performed.
Whenever possible, your treatment begins with medication or, sometimes, with noninvasive or minimally invasive therapies. This approach minimizes risk and can help you return to everyday activities more quickly.
Minimally Invasive Treatments for Prostate Cancer
We specialize in minimally invasive treatments for prostate cancer such as:
- Laparoscopic prostatectomy: The prostate is removed with a miniature telescopic instrument, which allows for a quicker recovery
- Robotic surgery: This breakthrough technology, which often is used for prostatectomy surgery, requires only a few small incisions
We place a high priority on sparing the nerves and tissue around the prostate whenever possible. This approach helps to decrease side effects that can affect a patient's quality of life, such as erectile dysfunction, incontinence or other urinary-tract symptoms.
Minimally Invasive Treatments for BPH
We specialize in minimally invasive procedures to treat BPH, including:
- Photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP): Our surgeons are among the first physicians in the country to use this groundbreaking technique, in which lasers painlessly and bloodlessly remove excess prostate tissue to relieve urinary problems
- Transurethral microwave thermotherapy (TUMT): In selected patients, microwave energy helps to restructure prostate tissue and alleviate symptoms such as incontinence and voiding dysfunction
For selected BPH patients, our specialists also perform transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), a procedure that requires no incisions and has a high rate of success.