March 16, 2009 -- Question: What role will my primary care doctor play in your treatment, and what type of doctors manage and treat prostate cancer?
Answer: The primary care physician plays a very important role in the screening for prostate cancer. Typically, the screening should begin at 50 years of age for most men and it consists of a digital rectal exam and a blood draw for PSA level.
For men who are at higher risk and for African Americans, it should being somewhere around 40 and 45 years of age. Once the suspicion of prostate cancer is raised, the primary care physician will send you on to a urologist who will most likely perform a prostate biopsy to make the diagnosis of prostate cancer, if it is present.
If treatment is required, then generally the urologist would be involved in any surgical treatment, and radiation oncologist typically within the external beam radiation if this were to be performed. And brachytherapy is typically performed by either radiation oncologist or urologist. So your primary care physician is very important in the screening for prostate cancer, but once the clinical suspicion of prostate cancer is present, your primary care physician will refer you on to a specialist, generally a urologist, to make the diagnosis and to advise on treatment options.