Possible Cancer Protection From Prostate Drugs
Early research suggested that 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors , a class of drugs used to treat prostate enlargement, might increase the risk of developing more aggressive prostate cancer. However, newer studies have found that not only do the drugs appear to pose no extra risk, they may even protect against prostate cancer.
For instance, research from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial study in 2013 showed that taking the 5-ARI finasteride for seven years could lower the chance of getting low-grade prostate cancer by 25% among men ages 55 and older. A follow-up study of almost 9,500 men, published in the Nov. 1, 2018, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, also showed that finasteride lowered the risk by a similar amount , and found the protective effect lasted for at least 16 years.
What Are The Symptoms Of Enlarged Prostate
When the prostate becomes enlarged, it can block the urethra and impair bladder function. Symptoms that may indicate this is happening include:
- Urinating many times a day and being unable to hold off urination
- Problems starting a urine stream or a weak or interrupted stream, followed by dribbling at the end
- Waking at night to urinate and accidental loss of urine
- Decrease in the volume of ejaculate
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.
What Is A Digital Rectal Exam
The most common way for doctors to check on the health of your prostate is with a DRE. Its a fairly quick and simple procedure.
For the exam, youll bend at the waist while standing or lie on your side with your knees bent toward your chest.
Your doctor will lubricate a gloved finger and gently place it inside your rectum. Theyll press one hand on your prostate, and their other hand will feel your pelvic area. It should only take a few moments.
Your doctor will be able to tell you if your prostate seems to be a normal size and shape. In general, a DRE has no risks.
Herbal Therapies For An Enlarged Prostate
Several herbal supplements are marketed for enlarged prostates. Saw palmetto, beta-sitosterol, and pygeum are all are widely used in Europe. They are available in the U.S. and don’t require a prescription.
However, researchers and doctors are cautious about advising patients to try herbal supplements. Because they are not FDA-regulated, there are concerns about a product’s quality from batch to batch, according to the NIH’s Office of Dietary Supplements. Also, the safety of an herbal product depends on many things — the chemical makeup, how it works in the body, how it is prepared, and the dosage.
Something else to consider: Like any drug, a herbal remedy can affect how other medications or treatments work, or interact dangerously with your other medications. They can also have side effects. And, the AUA points out, they have not been well-studied for effectiveness or safety.
Before trying any alternative treatment, learn as much as you can about it, the AUA says. Most importantly — talk to your doctor before you try an herbal remedy. Many doctors consider alternative therapies like saw palmetto to “have no effect on symptoms, except as expensive placebos,” Slawin tells WebMD.
Beta-sitosterol: This compound is extracted from pollen of rye grass. There has been some evidence that it provides relief from urinary symptoms. However, in four studies the supplement did not increase urinary flow rates, shrink the prostate, or improve bladder emptying.
How Common Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia is the most common prostate problem for men older than age 50. In 2010, as many as 14 million men in the United States had lower urinary tract symptoms suggestive of benign prostatic hyperplasia.1 Although benign prostatic hyperplasia rarely causes symptoms before age 40, the occurrence and symptoms increase with age. Benign prostatic hyperplasia affects about 50 percent of men between the ages of 51 and 60 and up to 90 percent of men older than 80.2
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
- Frequent urge to pass urine, especially at night
- Weak or interrupted urine stream
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Painful ejaculation
- Nagging pain in the back, hips, or pelvis
Prostate cancer can spread to the lymph nodes of the pelvis. Or it may spread throughout the body. It tends to spread to the bones. So bone pain, especially in the back, can be a symptom of advanced prostate cancer.
How Should I Prepare For The Exam
You should tell your doctor if you have hemorrhoids, anal tears, or other problems with your anus. The exam will be easier if you breathe normally and try to relax.
Before having a PSA test, tell your doctor about any medications and supplements you take. Recent ejaculation can also affect your PSA levels. Ask your doctor if you should abstain from sexual activity before the test.
Your blood must be sent to a laboratory for analysis, so your PSA results wont be available immediately. Your doctor will let you know when they have the results.
The lab report will show the level of PSA in your blood as:
In addition to looking at the amount of PSA in your blood, your doctor will assess how quickly this number is changing. Many things can affect PSA, so test results require careful analysis by an expert. Your doctor will take all of your health information into account.
If you have an abnormal PSA test result, it doesnt mean you have prostate cancer. Most men with a high PSA level dont have prostate cancer. About 25 percent of men who have a biopsy due to a high PSA level have prostate cancer.
Its also possible for men with prostate cancer to have normal DRE and PSA test results.
What Tests Detect Prostate Cancer Early
Because prostate cancer cant necessarily be detected at home, its a good idea to learn about the tests that provide early detection 2 . Keep in mind that these tests cant decipher whether or not you have prostate cancer and, following the test, your doctor will most likely suggest a prostate biopsy. If youre wondering how to check for prostate cancer at home, your best bet is to leave it to your health care professional.
What Causes Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The cause of benign prostatic hyperplasia is not well understood; however, it occurs mainly in older men. Benign prostatic hyperplasia does not develop in men whose testicles were removed before puberty. For this reason, some researchers believe factors related to aging and the testicles may cause benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Throughout their lives, men produce testosterone, a male hormone, and small amounts of estrogen, a female hormone. As men age, the amount of active testosterone in their blood decreases, which leaves a higher proportion of estrogen. Scientific studies have suggested that benign prostatic hyperplasia may occur because the higher proportion of estrogen within the prostate increases the activity of substances that promote prostate cell growth.
Another theory focuses on dihydrotestosterone , a male hormone that plays a role in prostate development and growth. Some research has indicated that even with a drop in blood testosterone levels, older men continue to produce and accumulate high levels of DHT in the prostate. This accumulation of DHT may encourage prostate cells to continue to grow. Scientists have noted that men who do not produce DHT do not develop benign prostatic hyperplasia.
How Is Bph Diagnosed
Most cases of an enlarged prostate and associated Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms are due to BPH or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia. However, in order to rule out the possibility of prostatitis or prostate cancer, patients should speak to a urologist to get a proper diagnosis. In order to diagnose BPH, a urologist has the following tools at their disposal:
Tips For Coping With An Enlarged Prostate
When a man reaches about age 25, his prostate begins to grow. This natural growth is called benign prostatic hyperplasia and it is the most common cause of prostate enlargement. BPH is a benign condition that does not lead to prostate cancer, though the two problems can coexist.
Although 50% to 60% of men with BPH may never develop any symptoms, others find that BPH can make life miserable. The symptoms of BPH include:
- a hesitant, interrupted, weak urine stream
- urgency, leaking, or dribbling
- a sense of incomplete emptying
- more frequent urination, especially at night.
As a result, many men seek treatment. The good news is that treatments are constantly being improved. Patients and their physicians now have more medications to choose from, so if one doesn’t do the trick, another can be prescribed. And thanks to some refinements, surgical treatments are more effective and have fewer side effects than ever before.
But there are some things men dealing with BPH can do on their own. When symptoms are not particularly bothersome, watchful waiting may be the best way to proceed. This involves regular monitoring to make sure complications aren’t developing, but no treatment. For more troubling symptoms, most doctors begin by recommending a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. Often this will be enough to relieve the worst symptoms and prevent the need for surgery
Part 1 Of 2:deciding If You Need A Prostate Screening
What Is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Benign prostatic hyperplasia , or benign prostatic hypertrophy, is an enlargement of the prostate, a walnut-sized gland that forms part of the male reproductive system. During ejaculation, the prostate secretes fluid into the urethra, the narrow tube that runs through the center of the prostate. When a man urinates, the bladder squeezes urine out through the urethra.
As a man ages, the prostate can become enlarged. Because it surrounds the urethra right at the bladder exit, the prostate may squeeze or pinch the urethra as it gets larger over time. This may cause difficulty with urination such as a slow stream, the need to strain, increased frequency, urgency to urinate, incomplete emptying of the bladder, and intermittent flow or dribbling.
BPH is the most common disorder of the prostate gland and the most common diagnosis by urologists for males between the ages of 45 and 74. More than half of men in their sixties and as many as 90 percent in their seventies and eighties have some symptoms of BPH.
Although research has yet to pinpoint a specific cause for BPH, theories focus on hormones and related substances like dihydrotestosterone , a testosterone derivative in the prostate that may encourage the growth of cells.
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.
How To Check Your Prostate
This article was co-authored by Robert Dhir, MD. Dr. Robert Dhir is a board certified Urologist, Urological Surgeon, and the Founder of HTX Urology in Houston, Texas. With over 10 years of experience, Dr. Dhirs expertise includes minimally-invasive treatments for enlarged prostate , kidney stone disease, surgical management of urological cancers, and mens health . His practice has been named a Center of Excellence for the UroLift procedure, and is a pioneer in non-surgical procedures for ED using his patented Wave Therapy. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown University and was awarded honors in pre-medical studies, urology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology. Dr. Dhir served as chief resident during his urological surgical residency at University of Texas at Houston / MD Anderson Cancer Center in addition to completing his internship in general surgery. Dr. Dhir was voted Top Doctor in Urology for 2018 to 2019, one of the top three Best Rated Urologists in 2019 & 2020 for Houston Texas, and Texas Monthly has named him to the 2019 & 2020 Texas Super Doctors Rising Stars list.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 11 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,025,150 times.
Causes Of Benign Prostate Enlargement
The exact cause of benign prostate enlargement is unknown, but research suggests that hormones probably play an important role in the condition’s development.
Hormones are powerful chemicals that can have a wide range of effects on the cells of the body.
One theory is that as some men get older, the levels of a type of hormone called dihydrotestosterone increases, which may stimulate the growth of the prostate.
Another theory suggests that two hormones, testosterone and oestrogen, play a role. Younger men produce high levels of testosterone and much smaller levels of oestrogen. But as men get older, their levels of testosterone decrease, which means they then have a higher proportion of oestrogen in their body. It’s been suggested that the relative increase in oestrogen may stimulate prostate growth.
A Diet Rich In Fruits Vegetables And Healthy Fats Is Highly Recommended These Include:
- Coldwater fish like salmon, trout, and sardines. They are high in omega 3 fatty acids which help to reduce inflammation in the body, as well as help with prostate reduction.
- Tomatoes, berries, and citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants and vit C, which combat free radicals rampaging round in the body, causing inflammation and infections in many organs.
- Leafy green vegetables contain a chemical called sulforaphane. This chemical is believed to target cancer cells and promote a healthy prostate. Good options to include are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
- Nuts are rich in trace minerals such as zinc, which is found in high concentrations in the prostate. Tests have shown that zinc may help balance testosterone and DHT in the prostate, and so help to prevent enlargement. Shellfish and legumes are also rich in zinc.
- More research is needed, but onions and garlic may also be helpful to the prostate.
- Changing your diet can be quite effective in managing the symptoms of BPH, but other lifestyle changes may also be helpful.
Part 1 Of 3:making Lifestyle Changes
Checking For Psa At Home
Itâs best to look for prostate symptoms and then screen using a Prostate Specific Antigen blood test. While there is no physical way for you to check for prostate cancer at home, there are at-home screening options for PSA. imawareâ¢ at-home test for PSA can help screen you for prostate issues.Â
If Screening Test Results Arent Normal
If you are screened for prostate cancer and your initial blood PSA level is higher than normal, it doesnt always mean that you have prostate cancer. Many men with higher than normal PSA levels do not have cancer. Still, further testing will be needed to help find out what is going on. Your doctor may advise one of these options:
- Waiting a while and having a second PSA test
- Getting another type of test to get a better idea of if you might have cancer
- Getting a prostate biopsy to find out if you have cancer
Its important to discuss your options, including their possible pros and cons, with your doctor to help you choose one you are comfortable with. Factors that might affect which option is best for you include:
- Your age and overall health
- The likelihood that you have prostate cancer
- Your own comfort level with waiting or getting further tests
If your initial PSA test was ordered by your primary care provider, you may be referred to a urologist for this discussion or for further testing.
How Do I Screen For Prostate Cancer
There are two main early stage screening methods; a digital rectal exam , and a blood test measuring PSA levels. PSA screening is regarded as the best method to screen for prostate cancer in men over 40 or those of a certain risk factor.Â
While men might be intimidated by a DRE, itâs a quick and safe screening technique used by a physician, and should cause no significant pain.Â
A Digital Rectal Exam is a simple, painless and quick procedure. A physician inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the prostate to identify if the prostate is enlarged, has lumps or is an abnormal texture compared to a healthy example.Â
Although this procedure is a very clear indicator of prostate health, the entire prostate canât be examined during a DRE. This is why physicians will also take into account PSA blood work, health history, and other risk factors. Overall, itâs often difficult to detect prostate cancer early, itâs mostly found through PSA testing – so PSA screenings should be done regularly, starting at the age of 40-50.Â
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.
Risk Factors For Prostate Enlargement
Benign prostatic hyperplasia appears to run in families. Men who have a close relative diagnosed when still under the age of 60, have a 30% chance of developing BPH.
Other risk factors include:
- A lack of exercise. Research conducted at Harvard University Health noted that regular exercise could reduce your risk factor of BPH by up to 50%.
- Alcoholic drinks and high salt intake stimulate urine production and contribute to risks of prostate enlargement.
- A poor diet high in acidic foods such as red meat and full dairy may also be a risk factor.
- Fortunately, most of these risk factors can be substantially reduced by lifestyle and dietary changes.
How To Reduce Prostate Size
This article was medically reviewed by Janice Litza, MD. Dr. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. She is a practicing Physician and taught as a Clinical Professor for 13 years, after receiving her MD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 1998.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 65,131 times.
The prostate gland is a part of the male reproductive system that can enlarge with age, putting uncomfortable pressure on the urethra. This can cause urinary difficulties, urinary tract infections , and even bladder stones. By making lifestyle changes and using medication, most men can reduce their urinary troubles. A few men, though, may need to consider minimally invasive or traditional surgery options to feel their best.
Diagnosing An Enlarged Prostate
As with all incontinence conditions, a thorough diagnosis must be developed before action can be taken. You may have heard of some of these exams. And if you havent, now is a good time to familiarize yourself with them. Not only is knowledge power, but it also eliminates surprises.
Because those with BPH can experience symptoms from mild to severe, the treatment options featured here are organized from least invasive to more intense.
How Are Prostate Problems Diagnosed
To diagnose prostate problems, the health care provider will perform a digital rectal exam . The health care provider will also ask the patient
- when the problem began and how often it occurs
- what symptoms are present
- whether he has a history of recurrent urinary tract infections
- what medications he takes, both prescription and those bought over the counter
- the amount of fluid he typically drinks each day
- whether he consumes caffeine and alcohol
- about his general medical history, including any major illnesses or surgeries
Answers to these questions will help the health care provider identify the problem or determine what medical tests are needed. Diagnosing BPH may require a series of medical exams and tests.