Monday, September 25, 2023

5 common misconceptions about prostate cancer and the truth behind them -Dlight News

Talking about your prostate, urinary problems, or sexual dysfunction can be uncomfortable but is vital to men’s health. The prostate is a tiny walnut-sized reproductive organ located below a man’s urinary bladder. It is responsible for seed production and tends to get larger with age.

Guarnaccia“An enlarged prostate is often referred to as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a benign condition that can affect sexual function,” he says Steven Guarnaccia, MDa urologist with Dignity Health Medical Group – Sequoia. “Symptoms include slow urine flow, difficulty urinating, frequent or urgent urination, dribbling after urination, and waking up at night to urinate.”

Prostate cancer is another common form of prostate disease. It is the second most common type of cancer in men in the United States, after skin cancer, and is often detected during a routine physical exam.

Myth 1: I have no symptoms, so my prostate must be fine.

The reality: In men with prostate cancer, the symptoms can be different. Some men experience painful ejaculation, difficulty urinating, or frequent urination. Others have no symptoms at all. The bottom line is that you could have prostate problems without ever knowing it. In general, you should consider having your prostate checked by the age of 55. Black people and people with a family history of prostate cancer may need screening earlier, starting at age 45. Talk to your doctor about when and how often you should examine your prostate.

Myth 2: A high PSA means I have prostate cancer.

The reality: Prostate specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by the prostate. Problems with the prostate can cause more PSA to be released into the body. While a high level of PSA in your blood can indicate a problem with your prostate, it doesn’t automatically mean you have cancer. A larger or tender prostate, urinary tract infections, or intense exercise like cycling can affect your PSA levels. So don’t panic if your PSA is elevated. Ask your doctor what could be causing it so you can take the right steps to fix it. Although the PSA test is the most commonly used test to detect prostate cancer, researchers are looking for new ways to detect cancer earlier and improve its treatment.

Myth 3: My PSA test was normal, so I don’t need a rectal exam.

The reality: Two types of tests look for possible signs of prostate cancer. The PSA test measures the PSA level in the blood and is the current standard for detecting prostate cancer. However, in some cases, cancer occurs in men with normal PSA levels, so your doctor may recommend a digital rectal exam (DRE) as well. It is a simple procedure in which a doctor examines the rectum and prostate. If your doctor feels a lump, changes in firmness or size, or anything else unusual, further testing may be needed.

Talk to your doctor about which test might be right for you. If the test or tests indicate that you may have cancer, your doctor will refer you to a urologist for a prostate biopsy.

Myth 4: Everyone has the same risk of developing prostate cancer.

The reality: One in eight men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. A family history of prostate cancer is another significant risk factor.

“Men are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer if a brother or father had the disease,” says Dr. Guarnaccia. “The risk is much higher in men with multiple affected family members, especially if those relatives were diagnosed at a young age.”

African-American men are also at increased risk. They are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men. They also tend to get cancer at a younger age, the disease is more advanced when they are detected, and they have a more severe form of prostate cancer than other men.

Take away:

The goal of prostate cancer screening is to detect and treat prostate cancer before it causes symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a DRE and PSA blood test to check your prostate. Men between the ages of 55 and 69 should discuss the pros and cons of each screening test with their provider. Make an appointment with your doctor at Dignity Health Medical Group to discuss screening options and to learn when and how often your prostate should be examined. Use our “Find a doctorTool to find a Dignity Health doctor near you.

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