Prostate Problems? Is It Cancer Or BPH?

Men over 50 are more prone to prostate problems. Prostate cancer and benign prostatic hypertrophy both have similar symptoms, so most men don't worry at first. But if you do have prostate cancer, it can be curable when diagnosed early. If you have prostate problems, it is best to get a medical exam. There are also differences in symptoms that can help you determine if you may have prostate cancer or BPH. 

What Is BPH? 

BPH is an enlargement of the prostate and generally doesn't cause problems unless it obstructs your flow of urine. The cause of BPH is not known, but it may occur due to the normal hormonal changes a man goes through as he ages. Because it appears to be part of the aging process, there are no prevention methods known. 

A rectal exam is often necessary to diagnose BPH, along with a physical exam. You and your doctor will also discuss your symptoms and compare them against the symptoms for BPH:

  • Urinating more often 
  • Having a weak urine stream
  • Feeling that your bladder cannot be completely emptied
  • Burning during urination
  • Straining to urinate
  • Dribbling when urinating

In most men, these symptoms remain stable, but a small percentage of men require treatment, such as medications or surgery. 

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer occurs when malignant cells grow in the prostate gland. This type of cancer grows slowly in most cases, so it can develop for years without any symptoms. While prostate cancer is not related to an enlarged prostate, it shares some of the same symptoms:

  • Urinary obstruction
  • Common in older males

If prostate cancer is not found through a yearly rectal exam, lower back pain or pelvis pain may occur as the cancer spreads. Cancer treatment includes surgery to remove the prostate gland before the cancer spreads. If this is done early enough, prostate cancer is curable.

 After the cancer has spread, treatment with hormone therapy to slow malignant cell growth can help prolong your life. Radiation treatment is often used for patients who cannot undergo surgery due to other medical problems, like kidney, lung, or heart disease. Doctors also prescribe pain medications for back, pelvic or bone pain as the cancer progresses.

Prostate cancer is fatal if it spreads to your bones and other organs. Other complications include urinary incontinence and sexual impotent after surgery.

Medical professional recommend that men 40 years old or older who are at a very high risk have a rectal exam each year. If a close family was diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age, then you are considered at a very high risk.

Waiting until you have symptoms is not a good idea. While it may only be BPH, there is a chance you could be experiencing prostate cancer symptoms. For this reason, you need to report any prostate trouble to your doctor. To learn more, contact a company like Rahway Reginal Cancer Center.