Sex And The Prostate: Overcoming Erectile Dysfunction When You Have Prostate Disease
If you are concerned about erectile function, its important to understand what erectile dysfunction really is. Failing to have an erection one night after youve had several drinks or even for a week or more during a time of intense emotional stress is not erectile dysfunction. Nor is the inability to have another erection soon after an orgasm. Nearly every man occasionally has trouble getting an erection, and most partners understand that.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to attain and maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse at least 25% of the time. The penis doesnt get hard enough, or it gets hard but softens too soon. The problem often develops gradually. One night it may take longer or require more stimulation to get an erection. On another occasion, the erection may not be as firm as usual, or it may end before orgasm. When such difficulties occur regularly, its time to talk to your doctor.
Erectile dysfunction can have many causes, including some forms of prostate disease and medications and surgery for prostate cancer. Fortunately, in many cases, this problem can often be effectively addressed. Some men find relief by taking medications to treat erectile dysfunction. If these arent effective for you, a number of other options, including injections and vacuum devices, are available. The possibility of finding the right solution is now greater than ever.
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Research Reveals Lower Rates Of Prostate Cancer In Asia
Experts from various organizations share that prostate cancer rates vary between countries. The International Agency for Research on Cancer points out that the lowest rates of this illness are in Africa and Asia. The highest are in developed countries.
The National Cancer Institute and the US National Institute of Health share dramatic statistics. According to them, the rates for this type of cancer are higher for Western men than Asian men.
USA Today shares that African-Americans have the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world. But this type of cancer is not a typical malady in Africa. Diet is a possible explanation for the difference in rates since these men share the same ethnicity.
Furthermore, eMedicine.com points out that the difference in prostate cancer rates between African-Americans and Asians in Asia is 200-fold. Again, the difference in ethnicity and diet could explain the extreme variation in statistics.
Talking With Your Doctor
Different kinds of doctors and other health care professionals manage prostate health. They can help you find the best care, answer your questions, and address your concerns. These health care professionals include:
- Family doctors and internists
- Physician assistants and nurse practitioners
- Urologists, who are experts in diseases of the urinary tract system and the male reproductive system
- Urologic oncologists, who are experts in treating cancers of the urinary system and the male reproductive system
- Radiation oncologists, who use radiation therapy to treat cancer
- Medical oncologists, who treat cancer with medications such as hormone treatments and chemotherapy
- Pathologists, who identify diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope
View these professionals as your partnersâexpert advisors and helpers in your health care. Talking openly with your doctors can help you learn more about your prostate changes and the tests to expect.
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Soreness In The Groin
When prostate cancer spreads, its common for cancer cells to go to your lymph nodes and then move to more areas of your body. The lymph nodes are a network of glands that help your body filter fluids and fight infections.
There are several lymph nodes in your groin. These are the ones closest to your prostate, so its common for the cancer to spread to them first. Cancer cells prevent your lymph nodes from draining fluid and working properly. When this happens, your lymph nodes swell. As a result, you might experience pain or soreness in the area.
What Should People Know About Prostate Cancer
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system, located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate produces fluid that protects and nourishes sperm cells in semen.
Excluding skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in New York. Each year in New York State, about 14,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 1,700 men die of the disease. It is estimated that one in seven men will develop prostate cancer during his life.
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When Is A Psa Test Needed
If you are age 50 to 74, you should discuss the PSA test with your doctor. Ask about the possible risks and benefits.
Men under 50 or over 75 rarely need a PSA test, unless they have a high risk for prostate cancer.
- You are more likely to get prostate cancer if you have a family history of prostate cancer, especially in a close relative such as a parent or sibling.
- Your risks are higher if your relative got prostate cancer before age 60 or died from it before age 75. These early cancers are more likely to grow faster.
- If you have these risks, you may want to ask your doctor about getting the PSA test before age 50.
This report is for you to use when talking with your healthcare provider. It is not a substitute for medical advice and treatment. Use of this report is at your own risk.
Risk Of Prostate Cancer
About 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
Prostate cancer is more likely to develop in older men and in non-Hispanic Black men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older, and it is rare in men under 40. The average age of men at diagnosis is about 66.
What Is A Grade Group
In 2014, the International Society of Urological Pathology released supplementary guidance and a revised prostate cancer grading system, called the Grade Groups.
The Grade Group system is simpler, with just five grades, 1 through 5.
*Risk Groups are defined by the Grade Group of the cancer and other measures, including PSA, clinical tumor stage , PSA density, and number of positive biopsy cores.
Many hospitals report both the Gleason score and the Grade Group, but there may be hospitals that still report only the old Gleason system.
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Are Prostate Problems Always A Sign Of Prostate Cancer
Not all growths in the prostate are cancerous, and not all prostate problems indicate cancer. Other conditions that cause similar prostate cancer symptoms include:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia : At some point, almost every man will develop benign prostatic hyperplasia . This condition enlarges the prostate gland but doesnt increase cancer risk. The swollen gland squeezes the urethra and blocks the flow of semen and urine. Medications, and sometimes surgery, can help.
- Prostatitis: Men younger than 50 are more prone to prostatitis, inflammation and swelling of the prostate gland. Bacterial infections are often the cause. Treatments include antibiotics or other medications.
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Everyone Older Than 60 Has Cancer
Doctors are finally realizing that most people have cancer in their body. But its latent or hidden cancer. Latent cancers are so well contained by the immune system that they never get large enough to cause problems. As a result, doctors rarely discover them, unless they discover them by accident. Most of the cancers they discovered in this autopsy study were latent cancers. And, as you can see, they are very common.
Autopsy studies on women, for example, show that by the time a woman is 40 years old, the chance of her having a latent breast cancer is 40 percent.
That sounds terrible, doesnt it? Its really not terrible. In fact, the existence of latent cancers is very reassuring. They clearly demonstrate how effective a healthy immune system can be in stopping cancer.
Its so effective that the great majority of latent cancers never go on to become full-blown cancers. Thats good news. When you start to add up all of the various autopsy studies that are published, you soon realize that every single one of us over the age of 60 has cancer. Actually, we have at least two of these cancers already living in our bodies. But the really important thing about latent cancers is that they can teach us a lot.
The first thing they teach us is that by maintaining a healthy immune system, we can dramatically decrease our chances of dying from cancer.
Whats the best way to do this?
How Else Can I Reduce My Risk For Cancer
The following may help reduce the risk of developing cancer:
- Choose a healthy diet to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains and eat less red and processed meats. These actions may reduce the risk of developing many types of cancer as well as other diseases.
- Exercise regularly.
- Do not smoke. If you currently smoke, quit. Avoid exposure to second-hand smoke. For more information on quitting smoking, visit the NYS Smokerâs Quitline at www.nysmokefree.com or call 1-866-NY-QUITS.
- Discuss the risks and benefits of medical imaging, such as CT scans, with your health care provider to avoid unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation. This is particularly important for children.
- Talk with your health care provider about recommended cancer screenings.
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What Happens After The Dre
If any abnormalities are found during the DRE, the doctor may order more tests and possibly schedule a prostate biopsy to see if there are any signs of cancer present.
If there are no signs of prostate cancer found during screening, the results of the PSA blood test may help to determine the time between future prostate cancer screenings. PSA levels vary by age and other factors.
Ultimately, you and your doctor will decide how often you should be screened since your diet, health and lifestyle habits are all factors on the timing and frequency of your prostate cancer screenings. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you notice any changes in your health.
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Should I Get Screened For Prostate Cancer
This video helps men understand their prostate cancer screening options.
In 2018, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made the following recommendations about prostate cancer screeningexternal icon
- Men who are 55 to 69 years old should make individual decisions about being screened for prostate cancer with a prostate specific antigen test.
- Before making a decision, men should talk to their doctor about the benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer, including the benefits and harms of other tests and treatment.
- Men who are 70 years old and older should not be screened for prostate cancer routinely.
This recommendation applies to men who
- Are at average risk for prostate cancer.
- Are at increased risk for prostate cancer.
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Rectal Exams And Blood Test
Prostate specific antigen, or PSA, is a blood test that looks for a protein made by the prostate and prostate cancer cells. When this test is used to screen healthy men between the ages of 5569 years old, it can decrease prostate cancer death by about 20%. Your doctor will draw blood and pair it with a digital rectal exam for initial screening.
How To Do Active Surveillance Right
After a diagnosis of low-risk prostate cancer, you may be presented with a range of treatment options. Considering the slow progress of most prostate cancer, active surveillance is a reasonable choice for many men. Even if you live a long time after your diagnosis, your cancer may neverbecome aggressive and cause harm. Often, low-risk prostate cancer hardly progresses at all, even over decades.
If you choose to go the active surveillance route, do it the smart way. Dr. Hu recommends that for the first two years after your diagnosis
- Get a PSA test every six months.
- Have an office visit that includes a digital exam every six months.
- Within the first two years after diagnosis, get at least one follow-up biopsy as well as magnetic resonance imaging and precision medicine tests to reduce the risk of missing more aggressive cancer.
What happens next depends on those first two years. If it looks like your cancer is stable and not progressing, your doctor may suggest less frequent follow-ups. But if there is evidence that the cancer is becoming more aggressive, then you can decide at that time whether radiation, surgery, hormone therapy or some combination of these treatments is right for you. You may never need treatment, but if you do, youll get it when its still highly effective.
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What A Psa Score Really Means For Your Prostate
The best way to know if you have prostate cancer at the earliest possible stage is not the PSA or the digital rectal exam. The best indication is a test called PSA velocity testing.
With PSA velocity testing, its possible to diagnose an early cancer even when the PSA and the rectal exam are normal.
PSA velocity describes how high the value of a mans PSA tests increase in one year. For example, if a you have a PSA test and its 0.5 higher than it was the year before, you have a PSA velocity score of 0.5. If the last time you had a PSA was five years ago, and this years test was 1.0 higher, then your PSA velocity is 0.2, or 1.0 divided by the five years.
As a man ages, due to the normal age-related increase in prostate size, his PSA is likely to rise ever so slightly. But as long as the PSA velocity is minimal, the odds are that if he has a latent cancer, his immune system is still keeping it in check. In fact, a PSA velocity of 0.03 or less per year has been shown to be accurate proof that no prostate cancer exists. Thats an optimal velocity. Although the values may vary slightly from year to year, there should not be any consistent overall increase greater than 0.03.
And all of this is true even if the highest PSA number is still in the normal range. So any PSA velocity greater than 0.15 should be a cause for immediate treatment.
What Have I Learned By Reading This
You learned about:
- Why prostate cancer treatment can cause erectile dysfunction
- What can be done about erectile dysfunction
- How erectile dysfunction may affect your sex life
- What your partner can expect
If you have any questions, please talk to your doctor or health care team. It is important that you understand what is going on with your prostate cancer treatment. This knowledge will help you take better care of yourself and feel more in control. It will also help you manage any side effects you may have from your treatment.
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
Symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually appear until the prostate is large enough to affect the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis .
When this happens, you may notice things like:
- an increased need to pee
- straining while you pee
- a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied
These symptoms should not be ignored, but they do not mean you have prostate cancer.
Itâs more likely theyâre caused by something else, such as prostate enlargement.
Your Risk For Prostate Cancer
The greatest risk factors for developing prostate cancer are increasing age, family history, ethnicity, and diet. Do any of the following describe you?
- I am older than 50
- I have a family history of prostate cancer
- I am African-American
If you answered yes to any of these, then you may be at higher risk of prostate cancer. However, not having any of these risk factors does not mean you are immune. Unfortunately, all men are at risk for prostate cancer. Keep reading to learn more about your risk and what steps you can take.
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Can Prostate Cancer Be Prevented Or Avoided
Some risk factors, such as family history and hormone levels, cant be prevented. However, your weight, physical activity, and diet may lower your risk for prostate cancer. Work toward a healthy lifestyle by eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight .
Black Men Both Get And Die From Prostate Cancer At A Higher Rate The Reasons Are Complex And Unclear
Black men are 50% more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime and twice as likely to die from the disease, Dr. Kantoff says.
It is difficult to untangle the various factors that might affect the risk and outcome of prostate cancer, Dr. Kantoff explains. Prostate cancer in Blacks tends to have biological characteristics associated with more aggressive disease, he says. There is evidence suggesting that this is partly related to inherited genetic factors.
He points out that in addition to differences in tumor biology, the higher risk may be tied to disparities in environment and behavior. This could include social stress or more exposure to cancer-causing pollutants. Smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise, which can cause obesity, may also have effects. Disparities in outcome could be affected by differences in when the cancer is diagnosed and how the men are treated after diagnosis.
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