NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There are 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States each year, and many Connecticut residents turn to Middlesex Health for care.

Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate, a walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. It’s not clear what causes prostate cancer, but risk factors include your age, race, family history and whether you are obese.

Early prostate cancer rarely has symptoms, but a screening by your doctor may help identify prostate cancer when it is still localized to the prostate. Screenings can include a digital rectal exam or a PSA test, which involves a blood sample.

More advanced prostate cancer symptoms can include trouble urinating, pelvic area pain, back pain or bone pain.

Dr. Myer understands that some individuals may be reluctant to seek care during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he says it is important that you continue to get the care you need, including any cancer screenings, during this time.

“Early detection is very important and can result in better outcomes,” says Dr. Edward Myer, a Middlesex Health urologist. “During this pandemic, Middlesex Health is taking extra precautions to ensure patient health and safety.”

For men with low-risk prostate cancer, physicians may opt for active surveillance. Surgery to remove the prostate is also a possible treatment for prostate cancer patients, or they may receive radiation therapy.

Middlesex Health Cancer Center offers the SpaceOAR System, as appropriate, to prostate cancer patients who receive radiation therapy. This system uses an injectable gel to create a temporary space between the prostate and rectum. This space limits the impact of radiation to the gastrointestinal system and lowers the risk of side effects while ensuring that the full dose of radiation is delivered to the prostate gland.

Middlesex Health has a robust team of urologists who collaborate with radiation oncologists to treat patients who have prostate cancer. At Middlesex Health Cancer Center, a nurse navigator is available to help patients with their care from diagnosis through treatment.

Patient health and safety is a top priority for Middlesex Health, and the health system is taking extra precautions at all of its offices to minimize exposure to the coronavirus. This includes Middlesex Health Cancer Center locations in Middletown and Westbrook and its urology offices.

All employees, patients and visitors are expected to wear face masks while at a Middlesex Health facility. Middlesex screens for COVID-19 symptoms, has rearranged waiting rooms to encourage social distancing and has also increased the cleaning of its surfaces and equipment to ensure your safety. In some cases, virtual visits are also offered by many physicians.

For more information about prostate cancer — screening, diagnosis and treatment, visit