How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed
Screenings are the most effective way to catch prostate cancer early. If you are at average cancer risk, youll probably have your first prostate screening at age 55. Your healthcare provider may start testing earlier if you have a family history of the disease or are Black. Screening is generally stopped after age 70, but may be continued in certain circumstances.
Screening tests for prostate cancer include:
- Digital rectal exam: Your provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum and feels the prostate gland, which sits in front of the rectum. Bumps or hard areas could indicate cancer.
- Prostate-specific antigen blood test: The prostate gland makes a protein called protein-specific antigen . Elevated PSA levels may indicate cancer. Levels also rise if you have BPH or prostatitis.
- Biopsy: A needle biopsy to sample tissue for cancer cells is the only sure way to diagnose prostate cancer. During an MRI-guided prostate biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging technology provides detailed images of the prostate.
Questions You May Want To Consider Asking Your Doctor Include:
- What type of prostate problem do I have?
- Is more testing needed and what will it tell me?
- If I decide on watchful waiting, what changes in my symptoms should I look for and how often should I be tested?
- What type of treatment do you recommend for my prostate problem?
- For men like me, has this treatment worked?
- How soon would I need to start treatment and how long would it last?
- Do I need medicine and how long would I need to take it before seeing improvement in my symptoms?
- What are the side effects of the medicine?
- Are there other medicines that could interfere with this medication?
- If I need surgery, what are the benefits and risks?
- Would I have any side effects from surgery that could affect my quality of life?
- Are these side effects temporary or permanent?
- How long is recovery time after surgery?
- Will I be able to fully return to normal?
- How will this affect my sex life?
- How often should I visit the doctor to monitor my condition?
Prostate Specific Antigen Testing
Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein made by the cells in your prostate. Your PSA levels can be measured using a blood test and give an indication of your prostate health.
A PSA test isnt a test for cancer. Higher levels of PSA might indicate prostate cancer, but a high reading could also be caused by other conditions. It is also possible to have low level readings and have prostate cancer. This means that a PSA test isnt enough to definitively diagnose or rule out prostate cancer. Your PSA levels can vary, so your doctor might run this test a few times to compare your results and help determine your risk of prostate cancer.
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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.
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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What Causes An Enlarged Prostate Gland
The prostate gland continues growing throughout your life, and aging is the main cause of an enlarged prostate. In fact, by the time theyre 60 years old, about 50% of all men will have BHP, and by the time theyre 85, the percentage jumps to 90%.
The direct cause of an enlarged prostate isnt clear, but certain risk factors increase your chances of suffering symptoms:
- Heart disease
Dr. Lee performs a few tests to diagnose your enlarged prostate, including urine flow, bloodwork, and a rectal exam.
Several variables dictate the best type of treatment. Depending on how large your gland is, your overall health, your age, and your symptoms, Dr. Lee may recommend lifestyle changes, medication, or even minimally invasive surgery.
Without treatment, your enlarged prostate can cause complications, such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, or damage to your bladder or kidneys.
To avoid those problems and relieve your symptoms, schedule a consultation today. Either call us or use our online booking tool.
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Signs Your Prostate May Be Enlarged
Age changes everything hair thins and grays, skin dries and wrinkles, and gravity does a number on once-firm flesh. But changes happen on the inside, too, and you may not realize it until you experience clear symptoms. In many men, one of these changes is a growing prostate gland.
Although an enlarged prostate doesnt necessarily mean cancer, it can mean youll suffer from some pretty uncomfortable symptoms until you get it treated.
Dr. James Lee at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care in Woodstock, Georgia, specializes in mens health issues and can diagnose and treat your enlarged prostate to relieve your symptoms. Heres what you need to know.
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When Should You Get A Psa Test
In the United Kingdom, theres currently no national screening programme for prostate cancer. Instead, the NHS offers a programme called Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme for healthy men over the age of 50 who inquire with their GP about PSA tests. This programme ensures that men can be well-informed about the pros and cons of getting a PSA test prior to doing so.
If you do decide to have your PSA levels checked after discussing your options with a GP, this can be arranged for free on the NHS. However, you can also order a PSA test online to use at home in this case, you usually take a small blood sample from your fingertip yourself, which is then examined in a medical laboratory.
Before you take a PSA test, you should be take care to avoid the following, as they may lead to an inaccurate PSA measurement:
- ejaculation in the past 48 hours
- moderate exercise in the past 48 hours
- a urinary infection
- a prostate biopsy in the past 6 weeks
Prostate cancer runs in the family. The risk of developing a tumour in the prostate is influenced by genes. So, if there are cases of prostate cancer in your family, this would be an argument for taking a PSA test.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of An Enlarged Prostate
An enlarged prostate is the most common cause of urinary problems in men as they get older. Possible symptoms include:
- a weak flow when you urinate
- a feeling that your bladder hasnt emptied properly
- difficulty starting to urinate
- dribbling urine after you finish urinating
- needing to urinate more often, especially at night
- a sudden urge to urinate you may sometimes leak before you get to the toilet.
You may not get all of these symptoms, and some men with an enlarged prostate dont get any symptoms at all. These symptoms can also be caused by other things, such as cold weather, anxiety, other health problems, lifestyle factors, and some medicines. Blood in your urine may be a symptom of an enlarged prostate. But this is rare and is usually caused by something else.
If you have any of the symptoms above, you should visit your GP to find out what may be causing them.
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Inflammation Of The Prostate
While prostatitis can affect men of any age, it is more common in younger men, aged between 30 and 50 years. The main types of prostatitis are:
- bacterial prostatitis acute or chronic bacterial infection
- non-bacterial prostatitis inflamed prostate, also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome .
In most cases, the cause of prostatitis is unknown. Bacterial prostatitis responds well to antibiotic drugs that can get into the prostate.
Non-bacterial prostatitis, or CPPS, is the most common form of prostatitis and is more difficult to manage. Symptoms vary from one man to another. There is no single test to diagnose CPPS, so your doctor will need to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms before making a diagnosis.Possible causes of CPPS include:
- a past bacterial prostatitis infection
- irritation from some chemicals
- chronic anxiety problems.
The Basics: How An Erection Occurs
At its most basic level, an erection is a matter of hydraulics. Blood fills the penis, causing it to swell and become firm. But getting to that stage requires extraordinary orchestration of body mechanisms. Blood vessels, nerves, hormones, and, of course, the psyche must work together. Problems with any one of these elements can diminish the quality of an erection or prevent it from happening altogether.
Nerves talk to each other by releasing nitric oxide and other chemical messengers. These messengers boost the production of other important chemicals, including cyclic guanosine monophosphate, prostaglandins, and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide. These chemicals initiate the erection by relaxing the smooth muscle cells lining the tiny arteries that lead to the corpora cavernosa, a pair of flexible cylinders that run the length of the penis .
Figure 1: Anatomy of the penis
The penis is made up of three cylindrical bodies, the corpus spongiosum which contains the urethra and includes the glans of the penisand two corpora cavernosa , that extend from within the body out to the end of the penis to support erection. Blood enters the corpora cavernosa through the central arteries.
Understanding The Anatomy Of The Prostate
Despite its importance, the prostate gland in an adult man is only about the size and shape of a walnut and weighs less than 1 ounce .
It is located below the bladder, above the pelvic floor muscles, and in front of the rectum.
The prostate reaches its mature size during puberty and will keep its walnut size until the man is in his late forties or early fifties. After this age, it slowly begins to enlarge.
The prostate, which surrounds the urethra, is made up of glandular, stromal tissue, and smooth muscles fused within a capsule.
Though the prostate gland is often referenced as a singular entity, it is actually made up of a number of tubular or saclike glands that secrete fluids into the urethra through the ejaculatory ducts.
The prostate is divided into three histologically and anatomically separate glandular areas: The transition zone, the central zone, and the peripheral zone.
Transition Zone This surrounds the part of the urethra that passes through the prostate . This zone only represents about 5 percent of the gland, but is the primary origination of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or enlarged prostate. That is, the transition zone is the region of the prostate that grows as men age.
Central Zone Making up quarter of the prostate, this area surrounds the transition zone, as well as the ejaculatory ducts that stretch from the seminal vesicles which produces the majority of the fluid of semen to the prostatic region of the urethra.
Prostate Massage Therapy And Why It May Be Helpful
Prostate massage therapy , in which the prostate is stimulated through the rectum, was once a popular treatment for prostatitis.
The procedure is similar to a digital rectal exam, except rather than briefly looking for abnormalities on the prostate, the person performing the prostatic message rubs the prostate with light to moderate pressure until it secretes fluid through the urethra .
It was once thought that people could relieve symptoms related to prostatic congestion by expelling inflammatory cells and fluid from the obstructed glands. But this therapy largely fell out of favor in the 1960s, once antibiotics became available.
A study published in the journal Neurology tested whether prostate massage could be used as an adjunct treatment for people with chronic prostatitis, but the researchers found that the treatment did not significantly help patients.
In some cases, doctors have used prostate massage therapy to obtain sperm from men with spinal cord injuries, leading to successful pregnancies. But electroejaculation stimulating the prostate using an electric current delivered through a probe inserted into the rectum typically yields more sperm, noted an article published in the journal Nature Reviews Urology.
Using prostate massage to achieve ejaculation is sometimes called prostate milking. Both prostate massage and prostate milking can also be sexual techniques to stimulate pleasure.
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Expert Review And References
- Prostate cancer. American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society . Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society 2013: .
- Andriole GL, Crawford ED, Grubb RL 3rd, et al. Prostate cancer screening in the randomized Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial: mortality results after 13 years of follow-up. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2012.
- National Cancer Institute. Prostate Cancer Screening Health Professional Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute 2014: .
- Scher HI, Scardino PT, Zelefsky. Cancer of the prostate. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2015: 68:932-980.
- Tangen CM, Neuhouser ML, Stanford JL. Prostate cancer. Thun MJ . Schottenfeld and Fraumeni Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. 4th ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press 2018: 53:997-1018.
How Can Prostate Massagers Help
If you are looking for something more, youll be delighted to know that there are special toys designed for prostate massage. The main reason why this might be a good idea is that these toys have a single goal, to help men achieve prostate orgasm.
Similarly to some dildos, these toys can reach that special spot and stimulate it using vibrations. The person controlling the vibrator can choose the intensity, which can go from barely a tickle to ecstasy, depending on which one you like.
Naturally, they come in all shapes and sizes, and the materials are safe for use, so you wont have to worry about potential problems. Depending on your interest in anal play, you can find larger or smaller ones, ones working on batteries, some wireless models, and so on. If you are afraid of feeling cold steel inside your body, you can even get a toy that heats up! However, we are telling you that you would not want to miss out the new sensations with a prostate massager that you could experience.
In the end, it all comes down to what you like and prefer. If you dont want to buy expensive toys, you can get simpler ones that dont require batteries or chords. Some massagers are unique in shape, which can allow you to use them almost as a lever to reach the spot.
For people who are not daring to try inside massage, some toys can allow you to stimulate the prostate from the outside. These toys apply pressure on the perineum so that you can have fun without penetration.
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Does Masturbation Cause A Decrease In Sexual Sensitivity
For women who have sexual dysfunction, enhanced stimulation including masturbation can help increase sexual desire and sensitivity.
In fact, two 2009 studies found that vibrator use among women and men has been linked to an increase in desire, arousal, and overall sexual function. Women also reported an increase in lubrication, while men reported better erectile function, according to the studies.
Masturbation can affect sensitivity during sex for men because of their technique. Research has shown that too tight of a grip on a penis during masturbation can decrease sensation.
Sexual health experts recommend changing your technique during masturbation to restore sensitivity levels during sex.
Treatment Options For Prostate Stones
Most men with prostate stones will not require any treatment, again due to lack of symptoms. Also, sometimes, prostate stones may pass on their own in a mans urine. However, if they do become infected and are causing prostate or urinary tract problems, then they may require antibiotics. In more severe cases, they can be removed surgically. Prostatic calculi can be easily removed with a transurethral electro-resection loop or holmium laser if they cause difficulty in urination or chronic pain.
Any man, having urinary symptoms or pain in the lower pelvic region, needs to see his doctor right away for a thorough examination and diagnosis of what the problem may be.
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