Can A Swollen Prostate If Untreated Cause Prostate Cancer
We have no evidence of that. Theyre completely unrelated problems. The area of the prostate that causes urinary symptoms is usually a different part of the prostate than where cancer is likeliest to develop.
Doctors divide the prostate into different zones. The zone that is associated with BPHand the majority of prostate growthis the transition zone. Prostate cancer occurs there much less often than in the peripheral zone, which is the outer area.
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed
Prostate cancer can be diagnosed by following tests, remembering they ought to support the context of the patients signs and symptoms.
Additionally, your doctor may conduct a biomarker test. Biomarkers, found in the blood or urine are substances produced by a cancerous tumour or antibodies produced by the body to combat the tumour. Almost all diagnoses of prostate cancer will require a biopsy at some point.
What Is The Prostate
The prostate is a small gland in men that helps make semen. Located just below the bladder in front of the rectum, it wraps around the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body. It tends to grow larger as you get older. If your prostate gets too large, it can cause a number of health issues.
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What Does The Psa Test Involve
The PSA test involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. The results indicate:
Normal levels: Most healthy adult males have PSA levels below 4 nanograms per milliliter .
Borderline levels: PSA levels of 4â10 ng/ml are borderline. There is a 1 in 4 chance that cancer is present.
High levels: If PSA levels are over 10 ng/ml, there is a 50% chance that the person has prostate cancer. The specialist will likely recommend more testing, including a prostate biopsy.
It is important to note that PSA levels can naturally vary from person to person. A person with high levels may not have prostate cancer. On the other hand, about 15% of people who test positive for prostate cancer after a biopsy have PSA levels below 4 ng/ml.
Prostate cancer is not the only cause of high PSA levels. Find out more about the other causes here.
How Is Prostate Cancer Treated
For many men with prostate cancer, treatment is not immediately necessary.
If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, your doctor may suggest either “watchful waiting” or “active surveillance”.
The best option depends on your age and overall health. Both options involve carefully monitoring your condition.
Some cases of prostate cancer can be cured if treated in the early stages.
- radiotherapy either on its own or alongside hormone therapy
Some cases are only diagnosed at a later stage, when the cancer has spread.
If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body and cannot be cured, treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms.
All treatment options carry the risk of significant side effects, including erectile dysfunction and urinary symptoms, such as needing to use the toilet more urgently or more often.
For this reason, some men choose to delay treatment until there’s a risk the cancer might spread.
Newer treatments, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound and cryotherapy, aim to reduce these side effects.
Some hospitals may offer them as an alternative to surgery, radiotherapy or hormone therapy.
But the long-term effectiveness of these treatments is not known yet.
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What If I Am Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer
Many people have been where you are standing. Dont lose hope. More than 3.1 million American men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and are alive today.
The first thing you should consider doing is to find out about the specifics of your cancer. You should know your stage and grade .
From there you can find out what treatment options you want to pursue, if any. Talk to your doctors. Choose a healthcare team of different specialists, or consult a second opinion. You can also do your own research, or talk to men who have been in your position. Many of our advocates are patients and survivors hear their stories at the video library. Or head to the rest of our website to start some research.
Determining who needs treatment for prostate cancer has evolved with new options to diagnose aggressive vs. indolent disease. Check out our infographic with more information on what genomic and advanced tests are available based on a mans individual cancer.
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.
You may experience momentary discomfort. You may also feel the urge to urinate, especially if your prostate is enlarged or inflamed.
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.
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When To Get A Prostate Exam
For many years, all patients were recommended to get a prostate exam after a certain age.
Right now, the recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force are slightly different. Prostate cancer screening should start after 55 years, but not all patients should get screened .
If you dont have risk factors or symptoms, your age is not enough reason to screen.
Still, you can do it if youre worried about your prostate.
Also, keep in mind that some average risk factors could be unknown to you. Thus, the best way to know if you need a prostate exam or not is by asking your urologist.
Men should decide for themselves if they prefer to perform an exam.
Still, health authorities recommend that males with a healthy prostate after 70 years do not perform additional exams .
What Is A Prostate Screening
A prostate screening should be done routinely once a man turns a certain age. This in order to detect undiagnosed prostate cancer in someone who may not have any symptoms. There are two main tests that a man must undergo during a prostate screening: A PSA test and digital rectal exam. The PSA test checks the level of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. The digital rectal exam consists of the doctor feeling for any abnormalities within a mans prostate.
Both types of prostate screening tests are important to have because they test for different things. This means that complete confidence regarding the state of your prostate health requires both tests. As the most common cancer for men, it can be detected early and treated.
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Why Should I Get Both Prostate Cancer Screenings
Both screenings provide valuable information about your health that can detect prostate cancer, even at an early stage. One result without the other may not provide enough indication of whether or not treatment is necessary.
There are many reasons why a mans prostate may be enlarged, and prostate cancer is only one. When paired with a PSA blood test, results can better indicate whether further testing is needed to determine a diagnosis.
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.
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How Do I Get Tested
A general practitioner or an urologist can perform a full prostate cancer exam. This would usually include a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam, also called a DRE.
A Prostate Specific Antigen screening measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions.
A Digital Rectal Exam is a test that is done when a doctor or nurse inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to estimate the size of the prostate and feel for lumps or other abnormalities.
Talk to your general doctor or urologist about receiving a prostate exam. If you do not have a doctor, do not have insurance, and cannot afford a test, find out what free screenings are available in your area on our Free Testing Map. If you do not see a free screening in your area, check back in the fall. Many screenings occur in September, during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
Who Should Get Screened For Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer typically starts in men around 55 to 70 years old. For men who are not at a higher risk of developing the disease should begin a conversation with their doctor about getting screened in their fifties and repeat the screening about every two years.
Men who are at higher risk for developing prostate cancer should begin screenings at age 40. Those at higher risk for prostate cancer include:
- Black or African-American men
- Men with a family history of prostate cancer
- Men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer before
- Men who have a family history of colon, breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer
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An Abnormal Psa Test: What Comes Next
If your PSA score is in the abnormal range, your doctor may recommend yourepeat the PSA test. If your levels are still high, your doctor mightrecommend one of the newer prostate cancer screening tests available today.
These tests can help better assess your risk for prostate cancer anddetermine whether a biopsy is necessary. Only a prostate biopsy candefinitively diagnose prostate cancer.
For individualized recommendations that suit you, ask your doctor about:
- What age you should start prostate cancer screening
- New blood, urine and imaging tests that are available
- Improved biopsy techniques, if applicable
Who Should Get A Prostate Exam
Starting at age 50, all men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor. The American Cancer Society advises men at higher risk to have this conversation at age 45.
Youre considered to have an increased risk if youre African-American or if a first-degree relative had prostate cancer before age 65. If more than one first-degree relative had prostate cancer before age 65, you might want to consider beginning prostate cancer screening even earlier.
Prostate cancer is easier to treat before it spreads. However, some prostate cancers are so slow-growing that they dont always require treatment. A lot depends on your age and other factors.
Discuss your risk factors with your doctor, and ask if you should have a prostate exam as part of your yearly checkup.
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What Should I Look Out For
The above recommendations apply to screening only i.e. if youre not experiencing symptoms. For many men, prostate cancer can be symptomless because of the way it grows: youll only notice changes if it grows too close to your urethra, disrupting the urinary process. The symptoms of this include:
- Trouble starting a urine stream
- Having a weak urine stream
- Dribbling at the end of urination
- Urinary retention
- Pain after urination or ejaculation.
If youre experiencing these, you should come in for a prostate exam. However, dont panic: the most common cause of the above isnt cancer its benign prostatic hyperplasia . This is when your prostate naturally grows large enough to block your urinary tract. 50% of men aged 51 60 suffer from it, and the number rises as you age. There are a number of treatment options available, from lifestyle changes and medications to minimally invasive procedures and surgery.
Another cause of these symptoms could be prostatitis, which is when your prostate becomes infected. This usually affects men aged 30 50. Additional symptoms include pain in and around your penis, testes, anus, abdomen or lower back, or erectile dysfunction. Usually, this will improve over time and with treatment.
The other symptoms to look out for are signs that prostate cancer has spread. If the cancer breaks out of the prostate, symptoms could include back, hip or pelvis pain, erectile dysfunction, blood in urine or semen, and unexplained weight loss.
What To Expect During Your Prostate Exam
If you’ve been avoiding a prostate exam, you could be putting your health at risk. Knowing the facts about the procedure will help put any fears, concerns, or squeamishness to rest.
If you’re a man older than 40 and have not yet had a prostate exam, it’s a good time to talk to your doctor. If you’re also African American or have a family history of prostate cancer, it’s a really good time. One of six men eventually gets a prostate cancer diagnosis. And even though most men have a slow-growing type, prostate cancer is still the leading cause of cancer deaths in men older than 75. So if you’re afraid of a prostate exam, it’s time get over it and protect your prostate health.
“Start talking about your prostate care plan at age 40, and if you and your doctor think the time is right, get a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test during your annual physical,” suggests Dan Zenka, senior vice president of the Prostate Cancer Foundation and a prostate cancer survivor who was diagnosed at age 51 in 2010.
What to Expect During a Primary Care Prostate Health Exam
Your doctor will probably start by asking you if you have any prostate health symptoms like a weak urine stream, dribbling, straining to urinate, or blood in your sperm or urine. Your doctor may also ask if you have a father or a brother with prostate cancer – and if the doctor doesn’t ask, volunteer the information.
Here are the two tests that will be done:
What to Expect if You Need a Prostate Cancer Exam
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What To Expect During The Digital Rectal Exam
Your doctor may examine you either standing or lying down.
- If standing, you will be asked to stand facing the examination bed, with feet apart, body bent forward and your arms or elbows on the bed. Feel free to ask your doctor to give you a heads up before making any sudden movements.
- Wearing surgical gloves, the doctor will coat a finger in lubricant.
- The finger will be inserted into your rectum in a downwards angle. You may feel a little pressure or slight discomfort, but it shouldn’t hurt. It is important to relax and take deep breaths and let the doctor know immediately if there is pain.
- Your doctor may have to wait a few seconds for your external sphincter muscle to relax, and may ask you to bear down as if you are having a bowel movement.
- The doctor moves the finger in a circular motion in order to identify the lobes and groove of the prostate gland. The doctor checks for:Lumps on or around the prostate
- Hard spots or bumps
- Abnormalities on the prostate
- A normal prostate is usually around 2-4 cm long and has a triangular shape, with a firm and rubbery texture
Why You Should Screen
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in men. The cause of prostate cancer is unknown. Research has found it is most common in men who:
- are over age 50
- have a family history of prostate cancer
- are of African ancestry
If caught early, treatment is often successful. If you need treatment, your doctor will discuss the options with you.
The Prostate-specific antigen test is the best way to detect prostate cancer but may also produce false results.
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