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Early detection of prostate problems

The prostate is a tiny gland located just beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra and produces fluid that forms part of the semen. 

Though small in size, the prostate is one of the most talked-about glands in men and which causes a lot of concerns. In fact, all men are at risk of developing prostate problems.

The prostate problems include:

  1. Prostatitis

This is an issue frequently associated with young and middle-aged men. Prostatitis refers to inflammation of the prostate due to a bacterial infection or other cause. Only 5-10 percent of men develop prostatitis in their lifetime.

  1. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

Also called an enlarged prostate, BPH is the growth of the prostate gland to a large, unhealthy size.  The risk of having the problem increases with age. 

While just 8-percent of men in the ages 31-40 may develop the condition, up to 50-percent of men aged 51-60 years and more than 80-percent of men aged over 80 years have BPH.

An enlarged prostate is neither prostate cancer nor a cause of the cancer. Also, only 50-percent of men with BPH develop symptoms that are severe enough to warrant treatment.

  1. Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men with more than 16 percent of men diagnosed with the cancer in their lifetime.  Nevertheless, it is a slow-growing cancer and only about 2-percent of men end up dying of the cancer. 

Just like BPH, the risk of having prostate cancer increases with age. In fact, 75-percent of men with the cancer are usually aged 65 years and older.

The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but risk factors include family history and race. For instance, if you have a brother or father with prostate cancer your risk of the disease increases by more than double. Also, African-American men are at a greater risk of the cancer than Caucasians. 

That is why African-American men and those with family history of the disease are advised to begin screening at an earlier age than the rest of men.

Symptoms of prostate problems

Because the prostate is located just beneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, problems with the gland usually result in urinary symptoms. 

For instance, while prostatitis rarely shows symptoms, it may cause:

  1. Pain when urinating or ejaculating
  2. Turbid or cloudy urine
  3. An urge to urinate more often
  4. Pelvic pain
  5. Chills and fever

Like prostatitis, an enlarged prostate may not cause symptoms until it compresses the urethra and makes urination difficult. When it shows symptoms, BPH produces:

  1. Frequent urination, particularly at night
  2. Inability to delay urination
  3. Difficulty starting or stopping urination
  4. Feeling as if you can’t get all urine out
  5. Weak urine stream or interrupted stream
  6. Dribbling at the end of urination
  7. Accidental loss of urine
  8. Pain during urination or after ejaculation
  9. Urine of unusual smell or color

Early-stage prostate cancer does not usually show symptoms and is often only discovered after screening with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test or the digital rectal exam (DRE).  But advanced prostate cancer shows symptoms such as:

  1. Trouble urinating
  2. Blood in urine or semen
  3. Reduced force in urine stream
  4. Inability to urinate
  5. Pain or burning sensation during urination
  6. Blood in urine or ejaculate
  7. Bone pain
  8. Back pain
  9. Erectile dysfunction
  10. Loss of weight without trying

Early detection of prostate problems

  1. Prostatitis

With prostatitis, the infection is detected early through symptoms. For example, acute bacterial prostatitis tends to begin suddenly, producing chills, fever, or pain in addition to urinary symptoms. Visiting the doctor right away helps to diagnose and treat the infection.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is a prostate infection that recurs. It is detected via reappearance of similar symptoms that trigger visits to the doctor. When diagnosed, it is managed with antibiotics, though it is quite hard to treat. 

Equally, chronic prostatitis, also called chronic pelvic pain syndrome, can be detected early through symptoms such as persistent pain in the lower back, groin or tip of the penis.  It is treated with a combination of medicines, surgery and lifestyle changes.

  1. An Enlarged Prostate

Like prostatitis, an enlarged prostate can be detected early through symptoms—though such symptoms do not usually match the severity of the condition. That is why men who start to experience urinary symptoms should consult a urologist as soon as possible. 

An early visit to a urologist when you have symptoms helps to:

  1. Catch BPH in early stages when less invasive procedures are most effective.
  2. Bring the symptoms under control and improve quality of life.
  3. Rule out other potential causes of urinary symptoms, such as prostate cancer.
  1. Prostate Cancer

Since prostate cancer tends to show no early warning signs and only produces symptoms when at an advanced stage, early detection is not achieved through symptoms. Instead, the cancer is detected early by screening tests, usually prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam (DRE). 

Screening means testing to find prostate cancer in a man without symptoms. The tests used do not provide a diagnosis, but offer valuable information to help find the disease early. Plus, the tests are quick and safe.

Should you undergo screening for prostate cancer?

Screening for prostate cancer is controversial—while some doctors and organizations recommend regular screenings other organizations don’t. 

According to the American Cancer Society, you should speak with your doctor about the benefits, risks, and limitations of screening before you make the decision to get tested.  The organization asserts that you should not undergo PSA blood testing before this discussion. And that the discussion should begin at age 45 if you’re a man at higher risk and at age 50 if you have average risk of the cancer.

Another organization, the American Urological Association, recommends speaking with your doctor about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening when you’re aged 55 to 69 years. But that you should only proceed with testing based on your preferences and personal values.

American Urological Association:

  1. Does not recommend PSA screening if you are below 40 years.
  2. Does not recommend routine PSA screening if you are between the ages 40-54 and at an average risk of the cancer.
  3. Does not recommend PSA screening in men aged over 70 years and those with a life-expectancy of less than 10 years.
  4. Does not recommend annual screening, but instead routine screening at intervals of 2 years or more, which must be preceded by a discussion with your doctor.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend routine PSA screening for men in the general population, regardless of age. According to the organization, routine cancer screening can detect slow-growing cancers, which are then managed using therapeutic techniques with serious adverse effects but with no much benefit to the patient.

Prompt effective diagnosis of prostate problems

At Advanced Urology Institute, we are committed to early detection of prostate problems. We believe that it is important for patients to participate in screening programs for patients with the chance to speak with experienced physicians and the opportunity for informed decision-making and timely follow-up care.

We provide our patients with open, compassionate consultations that allow for informed decision-making and proper follow-up care, resulting in access to high-quality, objective diagnosis and treatment decisions. Plus, we guard against screening related problems, such as over-diagnosis and treatment of clinically insignificant conditions. 

For more information on prostate cancer and other urological disorders, visit the site “Advanced Urology Institute.”

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Advanced Urology Institute

Advanced Urology Institute is the largest urology practice in Florida. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our patients by providing excellent Patient-Centered Care. Set an appointment or visit our closest office near you.

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