Is Going To The Bathroom Frequently A Sign Of Prostate Cancer
Thats one of the challenging things having urinary symptoms is very rarelyalmost nevera sign of prostate cancer. Having urinary symptoms means you should probably be evaluated for an enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia . We can treat your urinary symptoms and help you pee better.
If urinary symptoms bring men to the doctor, we can discuss screening for prostate cancer. Thats important because not all men will go to a doctor until theres something wrong with them. And prostate cancer screening really is the only way to detect prostate cancer, because its almost always asymptomatic.
What Is The Chance Of A Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer
Around 17,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in Australia. It affects mostly men in older age groups and is rare in men under 50 years of age.
The chance of developing prostate cancer is significantly higher in men who have a close relative with prostate cancer the risks are higher if the relative was diagnosed before the age of 60.
If you have a family history of prostate cancer, talk to your doctor.
What Are Additional Tests For Detecting Prostate Problems
If the DRE or the PSA blood test indicates a problem may exist, the health care provider may order additional tests, including urinalysis, urodynamic tests, cystoscopy, abdominal ultrasound, transrectal ultrasound with prostate biopsy, and imaging studies such as magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography scan.
When To Get Checked For Prostate Cancer
Be proactive. As you enter middle age, be proactive and ask your doctor about establishing a prostate cancer screening schedule that makes sense for you, given your risk factors and your family history. Exactly when you begin screening depends on certain risk factors, based on incidence rates among different populations. These are questions to consider in setting up a proactive prostate cancer screening plan that works for you.
- How old are you?
- Do you have a family history of prostate, ovarian, breast, colon, or pancreatic cancers among your male and female relatives?
- Do you have African ancestry?
Take this quiz to find out what age to start talking to your doctor about prostate cancer screening.
What Are Clinical Trials And Are They Right For You
Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.
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Identifying Potential Prostate Problems
What If My Test Results Are Abnormal
If the results of early detection tests like the PSA screening or the digital rectal exam suggest that you might have prostate cancer, your doctor will conduct further testing. The PSA may be repeated, or you may be sent to a specialist for more tests such as a transrectal ultrasound and a prostate biopsy.
In a prostate biopsy, a tissue sample is taken from your prostate. Cancer can only be diagnosed with a tissue sample.
Recent research has yielded additional tests that in addition to the PSA and subsequent DRE and Biopsy that can give a doctor more information on to determine the probability of both finding cancer during a biopsy and determining how aggressive that cancer is likely to be. Read more on those tests.
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What Can You Do To Reduce Your Risk Of Prostate Cancer
While there are lots of scare stories and misconceptions out there about cancer, there are most definitely things you can be doing to reduce your risk.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fibre, starchy foods, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products. Some foods can be prostate-healthy such as brassicas cooked tomatoes, green tea, mixed nuts and pomegranate juice. These foods produce antioxidants or specific chemicals that protect prostate tissue.
Exercise regularly. Aim to do 30 minutes of low-intensity exercise on five days of the week. Aerobic exercise is best such as swimming, jogging, cycling and brisk walking. Stop smoking and steer clear of passive smoke, and stick to recommended alcohol limits. For men, that means no more than three to four units in a day.
How Is Prostate Cancer Detected
There is no single test to detect prostate cancer. The two most common tests are the prostate specific antigen blood test and the digital rectal examination .
The PSA test measures the level of PSA in your blood. It does not specifically test for cancer. Virtually all PSA is produced by the prostate gland. The normal range depends on your age. A PSA above the typical range may indicate the possibility of prostate cancer. However, two-thirds of cases of elevated PSA are due to noncancerous conditions such as prostatitis and BPH.
A DRE is generally conducted by a urologist to feel the prostate. While DRE is no longer recommended as a routine test for men who do not have symptoms of prostate cancer, it may be used to check for any changes in the prostate before doing a biopsy.
If either of these tests suggest an abnormality, other tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer, usually a magnetic resonance imaging scan and transrectal ultrasound biopsy.
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How Is The Test Performed
To perform a DRE, your doctor will gently insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your anus. This allows them to feel for any abnormalities. For example, an enlarged prostate feels like a bulge behind the rectum wall. Prostate cancer may feel like bumps on the normally smooth surface of the prostate.
Men may feel pain or the urge to urinate during the exam. This is because your doctor is applying firm pressure to the prostate.
A DRE is typically done as part of a routine physical examination for both men and women. During a gynecological exam, your doctor may perform a DRE to check the space between the rectum and the vagina for any abnormalities. Most men and women feel only minor discomfort during the procedure. People with hemorrhoids or anal fissures may experience a small amount of bleeding.
A DRE isnt suitable for detecting colon cancer. Only a small portion of the lower colon may be accessed during a DRE. However, a DRE may be used to obtain a stool sample. If blood is present in the stool, it may indicate colon cancer or other problems.
Blood isnt always visible to the naked eye in a stool sample, so your doctor may wish to conduct a fecal occult blood test to confirm.
Factors That Might Affect Psa Levels
One reason its hard to use a set cutoff point with the PSA test when looking for prostate cancer is that a number of factors other than cancer can also affect PSA levels.
Factors that might raise PSA levels include:
- An enlarged prostate: Conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate that affects many men as they grow older, can raise PSA levels.
- Older age: PSA levels normally go up slowly as you get older, even if you have no prostate abnormality.
- Prostatitis: This is an infection or inflammation of the prostate gland, which can raise PSA levels.
- Ejaculation: Thiscan make the PSA go up for a short time. This is why some doctors suggest that men abstain from ejaculation for a day or two before testing.
- Riding a bicycle: Some studies have suggested that cycling may raise PSA levels for a short time , although not all studies have found this.
- Certain urologic procedures: Some procedures done in a doctors office that affect the prostate, such as a prostate biopsy or cystoscopy, can raise PSA levels for a short time. Some studies have suggested that a digital rectal exam might raise PSA levels slightly, although other studies have not found this. Still, if both a PSA test and a DRE are being done during a doctor visit, some doctors advise having the blood drawn for the PSA before having the DRE, just in case.
- Certain medicines: Taking male hormones like testosterone may cause a rise in PSA.
Some things might lower PSA levels :
Prostate Exam Vs Colonoscopy: Whats The Difference
At first glance, it might seem that a prostate exam is similar to a colonoscopy. After all, both exams involve your rectal area. However, these two tests are quite different.
While a prostate exam involves feeling the prostate with a gloved finger, a colonoscopy examines the walls of your colon by inserting a flexible camera into your rectum. The prostate is not examined at all during this procedure unless your healthcare provider manually performs an exam.
A prostate exam is a fairly quick procedure performed in an office setting. A colonoscopy, on the other hand, is an outpatient procedure in the hospital that requires IV sedation.
Special Types Of Psa Tests
The PSA level from a screening test is sometimes referred to as total PSA, because it includes the different forms of PSA . If you decide to get a PSA screening test and the result isnt normal, some doctors might consider using different types of PSA tests to help decide if you need a prostate biopsy, although not all doctors agree on how to use these tests. If your PSA test result isnt normal, ask your doctor to discuss your cancer risk and your need for further tests.
Percent-free PSA: PSA occurs in 2 major forms in the blood. One form is attached to blood proteins, while the other circulates free . The percent-free PSA is the ratio of how much PSA circulates free compared to the total PSA level. The percentage of free PSA is lower in men who have prostate cancer than in men who do not.
If your PSA test result is in the borderline range , the percent-free PSA might be used to help decide if you should have a prostate biopsy. A lower percent-free PSA means that your chance of having prostate cancer is higher and you should probably have a biopsy.
Many doctors recommend a prostate biopsy for men whose percent-free PSA is 10% or less, and advise that men consider a biopsy if it is between 10% and 25%. Using these cutoffs detects most cancers and helps some men avoid unnecessary biopsies. This test is widely used, but not all doctors agree that 25% is the best cutoff point to decide on a biopsy, and the cutoff may change depending on the overall PSA level.
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Why Is Active Surveillancethe Wait
We utilize active surveillance for men who have been diagnosed with a low-grade prostate cancer. The reason we monitor low-grade prostate cancer using active surveillance, rather than treating it aggressively, is that there are cancers that dont need treatment.
With low-grade prostate cancer, youre more likely to have problems from the treatment than from the prostate cancer. Any treatment we do for prostate cancer is going to affect a mans urinary and sexual function. It may affect it a little bitor a lot. With this type of prostate cancer, we can tell you now that theres very little likelihood the cancer is going to cause you any problems. We have a good and growing amount of evidence that low-grade prostate cancers, on average, progress very slowly and do not appear to spread to the lymph nodes. Active surveillance lets us detect higher grade disease and treat it at that point.
For us to do anything and treat it is going to change your quality of life. I think thats a powerful thing.
Seeing Your Gp When You Are Worried About Prostate Cancer
You might go to see your GP because you’re worried about prostate cancer. This might be because you know someone with it or have heard about prostate cancer or the PSA test in the news.
Or you might have some urinary symptoms, such as difficulty passing urine.
Whatever reason you have, don’t delay seeing your GP. It’s important to remember that most prostate cancers don’t cause symptoms and it is more likely that any symptoms you have are due to other causes. But if it is, the earlier it is picked up the higher the chance of successful treatment. You won’t be wasting your doctor’s time.
Try not to be embarrassed. What you tell your GP is confidential. Doctors are used to discussing intimate problems and will try to put you at ease.
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What Is The Prostate
The prostate is a walnut-shaped gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It has two or more lobes, or sections, enclosed by an outer layer of tissue. The prostate is located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder, where urine is stored. It surrounds the urethra at the neck of the bladder and supplies fluid that goes into semen.
When Should I Consider A Prostate Check
50 is the recommended age for your first check-up and subsequently every two years. However, some prostate specialists are starting to recommend having your first check aged 40.
Is there an increased risk group?
You are at increased risk of prostate cancer if:
If either of these apply to you it is recommended to get checked at age 45.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Prostate Problems
The symptoms of prostate problems may include
- urinary retentionthe inability to empty the bladder completely
- urinary frequencyurination eight or more times a day
- urinary urgencythe inability to delay urination
- urinary incontinencethe accidental loss of urine
- nocturiafrequent urination at night
- trouble beginning a urine stream
- weak or interrupted urine stream
- blockage of urine
- urine that has an unusual color or odor
- pain after ejaculation or during urination
Different prostate problems may have similar symptoms. For example, one man with prostatitis and another with BPH may both experience urinary urgency. Sometimes symptoms for the same prostate problem differ among individuals. For example, one man with BPH may have trouble beginning a urine stream, while another may experience nocturia. A man in the early stages of prostate cancer may have no symptoms at all. Because of this confusing array of symptoms, a thorough medical exam and testing are vital.
Repeating The Psa Test
A mans blood PSA level can vary over time , so some doctors recommend repeating the test after a month or so if the initial PSA result is abnormal. This is most likely to be a reasonable option if the PSA level is on the lower end of the borderline range . For higher PSA levels, doctors are more likely to recommend getting other tests, or going straight to a prostate biopsy.
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Preparing For Prostate Examinations
Due to the personal nature of a prostate examination, its normal to feel a bit anxious but it will be easier if you relax and practise some deep breathing.
Recent ejaculation can affect your PSA level, so your doctor might ask you to abstain from sexual activity for a period of time before your examination.
We hope you’ve found this article useful, however, it cannot be a substitute for a consultation with a specialist
If you’re concerned about symptoms you’re experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.
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What Happens During A Prostate Exam
If youve never had a DRE before, you may be concerned about what happens during a prostate exam and what it feels like. Dont worryit is not a painful experience.
Before performing a prostate exam, your healthcare provider will ask you to remove your clothes from the waist down and will provide you with a gown to wear. During the DRE, you will stand and bend at the waist or lie on your side with your knees bent. Your healthcare provider will apply lubricant to a gloved finger, gently insert it into your rectum, and sweep their finger along the wall of the rectumthis allows them to feel any abnormalities in the prostate.
Your provider may press down on your lower abdomen during this process, potentially causing mild discomfort and the urge to urinatethis is normal. The good news is these sensations only last a few minutes.
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