Genitourinary Cancer Care in the Western Suburbs
When you’re facing prostate, kidney or bladder cancer, you and your family can take comfort in knowing that a specialized care team is close to home. The genitourinary cancer team at Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Warrenville and the Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Delnor provides access to leading-edge cancer treatments coupled with compassionate care. Your cancer treatment team may include:
- Medical oncologist
- Radiation oncologist
- Palliative medicine physician
- Social worker
- Interventional radiologist
- Advanced practice nurses
- Rehabilitation therapist
Your doctor and other care providers collaborate weekly in multidisciplinary cancer conferences that are specific to genitourinary (prostate, bladder or kidney) cancer, bringing together expertise from a variety of disciplines to develop the best treatment plans for you.
We offer a comprehensive minimally invasive surgical program, including robotics-assisted surgery, available to qualified prostate cancer patients. Northwestern Medicine is the only health system in Illinois to offer the precision of proton therapy for prostate cancer at the Northwestern Medicine Proton Center* in Warrenville.
Nurse Navigators To Guide You
Our goal is to reduce anxiety associated with cancer treatment and support your overall well-being. Each patient is assigned a specialized nurse navigator to guide you and your family through treatment.
Your navigator works closely with your doctors to coordinate your care, answer questions and connect you to beneficial support services. Throughout your care, your navigator will provide education about your diagnosis and care plan.
Prostate Cancer Screening and Diagnosis
If you are over age 50, a yearly physical exam with your doctor is the best way to evaluate your prostate health. High-risk groups such as African American men, men with obesity or men with a family history of prostate cancer should ask their doctors about screenings before age 50. There are two primary tests:
- Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
- Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test
If the DRE or PSA results are abnormal, your doctor may request other diagnostic tests such as:
- Transrectal Ultrasound (TRUS) using sound waves to view the gland or guide a needle biopsy
- CT scan, PET/CT or MRI to determine the extent of your disease
- Radionuclide bone scan to determine if cancer has spread to the bones
- Biopsy of your prostate or lymph nodes, which involves removal of tissue samples
Prostate Cancer Treatments
Also known as active surveillance, watchful waiting means that your doctor will closely monitor your cancer through a series of PSA blood tests and exams, but active treatment is not initiated. Because prostate cancer often grows slowly, some men may never need treatment for their prostate cancer. Your doctor will discuss this option if you are a candidate.
Removal of the entire prostate (prostatectomy), part of it (transurethral removal of the prostate) or freezing of the cancerous cells (cryosurgery) are all options. Specially trained surgeons may use the da Vinci® Surgical System for robotic-assisted removal of the prostate with greater precision, faster healing and less pain.
Your radiation oncologist will discuss with you the best options for your diagnosis. These may include:
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT): high-precision radiotherapy that uses computer-controlled linear accelerators to deliver precise radiation doses to a malignant tumor.
- Stereotactic Radiotherapy (SBRT): the delivery of a single high dose radiation treatment or a few fractionated radiation treatments to a malignant tumor.
- Proton therapy: Proton therapy is an excellent option for treating prostate cancer because it is ultra-precise. With proton therapy, the radiation does to the bladder and rectum, which are in close proximity to the prostate, is greatly reduced. Talk with your doctor to learn if proton therapy may be right for you.
For cancer that has spread or recurred, hormone therapy can be used to reduce the amount of testosterone, which can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer.
Drugs may be administered, either intravenously or orally, to treat cancerous cells that have spread outside the prostate or have not responded to hormone therapy.
We offer cutting edge therapy such as immunotherapy and targeted radiation.
Side effects from cancer treatment can impact your quality of life and your body’s ability to respond to treatment. The Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Warrenville and the Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Delnor is home to a diverse team of palliative medicine specialists who work with your oncologist to help relieve your pain and manage your symptoms. The palliative medicine specialists:
- Treat pain and other physical symptoms of cancer, such as fatigue, nausea, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, breathing difficulties, and weight loss
- Treat emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety
- Improve your body’s ability to tolerate cancer treatments
- Help you better understand tests, procedures, and options
- Guide you and those who care for you to helpful outside resources
From your initial diagnosis throughout your care, the palliative medicine team can help you remain stronger in your fight against cancer and feel better, every step of the way.
Bladder and Kidney Cancer
Bladder cancer affects more than 68,000 people each year. Its victims are four times more likely to be men than women, and twice as likely to be Caucasians. Most patients are over age 55 when diagnosed.
More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year. While the exact cause of kidney cancer isn’t known, it is associated with certain risk factors such as smoking, family history of kidney cancer, long-term dialysis, high blood pressure and other diseases. Men are twice as likely to develop renal cell cancer as women.
Tests available include:
- Rectal or vaginal examination
- Urine test
- CT scan or MRI to determine the extent of your disease
- PET/CT scan
If cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will determine its grade and stage.
Treatment of bladder cancer might involve:
- Surgery, removing part or all of the bladder and surrounding lymph nodes
- Radiation therapy
- Immunotherapy or biological therapy
- Clinical trials
Support Services for Prostate, Bladder and Kidney Cancer
If you are battling prostate cancer, bladder cancer or kidney cancer, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, part of Northwestern Medicine, can be a vital component of your treatment and recovery. LivingWell serves as a gathering place providing comfort and community to anyone experiencing the effects of cancer. The LivingWell staff works to ensure that you and your family feel less isolated, better informed, more hopeful and empowered to take on the challenge of facing cancer.
Learn more about cancer support services in the western suburbs.
Make An Appointment
The care team partners work with your referring physician to ensure coordinated care from diagnosis through survivorship. To make an appointment with a urologic cancer specialist, please call 630.352.5450 (Warrenville) or 630.232.0610 (Delnor Hospital campus). TTY 711.