7 Tips for Keeping a Healthy Prostate

Prostate problems are common in men over 40. The prostate, a tiny walnut-sized gland found only in males, surrounds the urethra and produces a thick, white fluid that mixes with sperm to form semen. Though smaller early in life, the gland grows bigger with age and can sometimes become enlarged or swollen by conditions such as prostate enlargement, prostatitis or prostate cancer.

All men, no matter their age, can find themselves dealing with a prostate issue, which is why every man should be concerned about his prostate health. Fortunately, there are easy ways to prevent or reduce the risk of developing prostate health problems.

Here are 7 tips for keeping your prostate healthy:

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of anti-inflammatory and anticancer compounds, such as polyphenols, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber. Plants that boost prostate health are plentiful and include favorites such as tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, pink grapefruits, watermelons, papaya and guava. Equally powerful are green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, spring mix and kale which contain cancer-killing ingredients such as folic acid, vitamin D, turmeric and curcumin. Be sure to add fruits and vegetables to your everyday meals to boost your prostate health!

2. Eat more plant proteins and cut down on animal fat

You should avoid diets that are high in animal fat, including dairy products and red meat. Heavy consumption of red meat increases your risk of prostate cancer. So go for lean proteins, such as fish and chicken, but avoid grilled meat since grilling produces carcinogens that can inflame your prostate. Instead try baking, steaming, or broiling your meat.

High animal fat intake reduces antioxidant production in the body. And since it is the antioxidants that help to maintain a healthy prostate, excess fat diminishes prostate health. A good option for a healthy prostate is fish, which contains omega-3 acids that minimize the risk of prostate problems. Fish such as tuna, herring or salmon are good choices, but if fish is not your thing, then walnuts and flaxseed can be great sources of omega-3 acids.

Ideally, you should go for whole, natural foods that provide a lot of fiber. Soy is also good for your prostate and you can get it through sources like soy nuts, soy flour or tofu. Likewise, you should eat foods rich in selenium such as wheat germ, tuna, beef liver, eggs, sunflower, cashews, sesame seeds, mushrooms, onions, garlic and kidneys. Selenium boosts prostate health and minimizes the risk of prostate cancer.

3. Achieve a healthy weight

Obesity has been associated with various prostate health issues, including prostate cancer. If you are overweight, cutting back your weight, particularly abdominal fat, reduces the risk of BPH. In fact, if you desire to shrink your prostate size and get relief from annoying urinary symptoms, weight loss is valuable. Weight loss also helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer and relieves prostatitis.

4. Regular exercise

Moderate or vigorous activity minimizes the risk of BPH, urinary tract symptoms and prostatitis. Regular exercise also decreases stress, releases tension, improves immune function and maintains healthy hormone levels, all of which are important for a healthy prostate.

Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate or intense physical activity every day. Try walking, swimming, running or bicycling, and make sure your exercise routine is not boring by varying your activities and even inviting friends to join you.

5. Drink tea

Both green tea and hibiscus tea contain potent antioxidants. Studies show that regular intake of tea helps with prostatitis, BPH and prostate cancer. Green tea also slows down the growth of aggressive prostate cancer.

Make sure to choose caffeine free sources of tea since caffeine irritates both the prostate and bladder and worsens symptoms of prostatitis. As a measure to cut down on caffeine intake, make sure to reduce energy drinks, coffee and soda.

Like tea, water is also great for the prostate. Drinking plenty of water will help you remain hydrated and enjoy normal prostate function. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day, and to increase water intake during and after exercise.

6. Avoid smoking

Smoking affects every cell in your body. In fact, when cigarettes are burned, they are complete carcinogens. While smoking has less effect on low-grade or benign prostate cancer, it increases the risk of fatal prostate cancer. The heaviest smokers have 24-30 percent higher risk of death from prostate cancer than non-smokers. Smoking also increases the risk of prostate cancer progress after diagnosis.

Studies also show that smoking indirectly promotes benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and increases prostate inflammation. Apart from smoking, alcohol use and inadequate sleep may adversely affect your prostate health. Also, a healthy sex life is good for your prostate.

7. Talk to your doctor

Do you have family history of prostate cancer? Let your doctor know. Remember that having a father or brother who has had prostate cancer more than doubles your risk of developing the disease. Speak with your doctor about your risk of prostate issues and explore the medical screening tests you should undergo as you age, follow dietary recommendations and be alert to any risk factors.
If you intend to begin a new exercise program, make sure to inform your urologist about it. Your doctor should know if you are experiencing symptoms such as:

  • Discomfort or pain anywhere in your rectal or pelvic area
  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating

Are you or your loved one suffering from a prostate problem? St Pete Urology offers specialty urology services in a state-of-the-art facility and surgery center in St. Petersburg, Florida. We provide the latest innovations in surgical techniques and medical technology, delivering comprehensive care to those with urologic conditions. For more information about the prostate gland, BPH and prostate cancer, visit the St Pete Urology website.

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How do you keep your prostate healthy?

Prostate health is an important part of overall health for men. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland situated between the bladder and the penis. The urethra, the tube through which urine exits the body, runs through the prostate. One of the prostate’s main functions is producing a fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. For men, the prostate is an important part of both the urinary and reproductive systems.

The prostate is also the organ where the most common form of cancer for men develops. This cancer affects many men and the chances of developing it increase with age. The prostate also grows in size as men age. The rate and side effects of this growth can vary, but the most common symptoms are difficulty urinating and having to urinate frequently.

Given the importance of the prostate’s role and how easily it can develop problems, good prostate health is important. Luckily, there are simple lifestyle changes that can help improve prostate and overall health. These changes start with diet and exercise. There is a great deal of evidence that diet can help determine prostate health as well as cancer risk. It is recommended to have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Whole-grain bread and pastas are also recommended.

Protein is an important food group and eating the right kinds of protein plays a big role in prostate health. It is recommended to limit the intake of red and processed meats. Healthier sources of protein include fish, chicken, beans and eggs. Like protein, consuming the right fats is important, too. Healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, and avocados are much better than fats from animal byproducts or the trans fats found in fast food.

Sugar, salt and exercise play a role in prostate health as well. Sugary drinks like soda should be limited or cut out completely. Sweets in general should be an occasional treat, not a food group in your diet. Salt intake should be cut down for prostate health and keep in mind that most processed foods are very high in salt content.

Exercise is also important for maintaining good prostate health. There is evidence that regular exercise helps bring down the risk of stroke, heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Small changes to diet and exercise can add up to big health improvements, but there is still more you can do. Another important tool in keeping your prostate healthy is having a good relationship with your urologist. Yearly prostate exams and an open dialogue with a trusted urologist is key to maintaining prostate health and resolving issues early, before they turn into serious health problems. The urologists at St Pete Urology are dedicated to helping you keep your prostate healthy.

What Does the Prostate Gland Do?

The prostate gland is an organ that is part of the male reproductive system. It surrounds the urethra and is located between the bladder and penis. It is relatively small weighing in at a mere three-fourths of an ounce, and can be likened to the size of a walnut or small apricot.

Despite its small size, it does important work for the reproductive system. The primary function of the prostate is to produce and secrete prostate fluid, which is one of the main components of semen. This fluid, which makes up one-third of semen’s volume, contains important enzymes that aid sperm.

The enzymes are referred to as Prostate Specific Antigens (PSA) and help to prevent semen from thickening after ejaculation. The more liquid semen allows sperm to move freely, increasing the chances of its success.

The muscles of the prostate help propel semen. During ejaculation sperm moves from the testicles to the prostate. The prostate then will contract, closing the bladder’s opening to the urethra so the prostate can release the semen through the urethra.

When in good health, the prostate is an important part of the male reproductive system. However, it is prone to a few conditions that are most likely to increase as men age. The most common is enlarging of the prostate. Prostate growth affects virtually all men over age 50. It can cause difficulty urinating and the need for frequent urination. There are medicines that can help treat an enlarged prostate if symptoms get bad enough to warrant treatment.

Another common health issue is prostate cancer. Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. Fortunately, only one in 41 men diagnosed with prostate cancer dies, meaning survival rates are better than in many other forms of cancers. Prostate cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy. In some cases, when the cancer is not aggressive or spreading, doctors may recommend leaving the cancer alone and just monitoring it with your urologist.

Given its importance in the human body, good prostate health is important. Having your prostate checked once a year by a urologist should be a part of men’s annual health maintenance as they get older. Having a good relationship with your urologist is important. Urologists like those at St Pete Urology are dedicated to their patients’ best interest and overall health. They are specialists who can help with planning, treatment and any issues that may arise with the prostate. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.

Prostate Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer only affects men because it occurs in the prostate, a small gland located below the bladder that produces the male seminal fluid to nourish and transport sperm.

What Are The Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Some cases of prostate cancer are silent. However, there are signs that might indicate the condition:

  • Urinary and Other Problems:
  • difficulty starting or maintaining a steady stream of urine
  • frequent urination and leakage of urine
  • excessive nighttime urination urge
  • leaking small amounts of urine
  • weak urination stream or straining to empty the bladder
  • blood in the urine or seminal fluid
  • onset of erectile dysfunction
  • discomfort when sitting

Risk factors

Factors that may increase your risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Race
  • Obesity

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting men. When detected early and still contained to the prostate gland, it usually grows slowly. When initially confined to the prostate gland, it may not cause major harm. Prostate cancer that has been detected early has a better chance of successful treatment.

Treatment and Diagnosis

If you or your loved one is experiencing the signs or potential risk factors, it is best to make an appointment with a urologist. The urologist can take a biopsy, which is the only sure way to know if you have cancer. Additional steps that your doctor may employ include:

  • A PSA test
  • A DRE (this is a manual exam)
  • Biomarker tests

Like any cancer, early detection and intervention are key to resolving it. If not caught and treated early, the cancer can metastasize or spread.

Untreated, prostate cancer can spread to nearby organs such as the bladder, or to the bones or other organs, through your bloodstream or lymphatic system. If prostate cancer reaches the bones, it can cause pain and broken bones. As prostate cancer advances, it can be treated and somewhat controlled but it is unlikely to be cured at a later stage.

Prostate Cancer Prevention

Doctors recommend the following changes to prevent prostate cancer. These recommendations are healthy lifestyle changes for all individuals:

  • Choose a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.
  • Avoid high-fat foods.
  • Exercise at least 3 to 4 times a week.
  • Maintain a weight that is healthy for your body mass.

Men who face a higher risk of prostate cancer may consider medications or other treatments. Your urologist may prescribe 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. Not only do these drugs reduce the overall risk of developing prostate cancer through controlling prostate gland enlargement, they also may reduce hair loss.

Many men would rather avoid prostate exams and knowing if they have prostate cancer. They may fear that if cancer is detected they will experience impotency or incontinence because of treatment. However, recent medical developments have made such concerns unnecessary. To learn more about prostate problems, visit the St Pete Urology website or make an appointment for a consultation.

What are 5 warning signs of testicular cancer?

Testicular cancer is cancer of the testes, the male organ responsible for producing male hormones and sperms. It is understood to be one of the rarer cancers, especially when compared to the prevalence of prostate cancer. In addition to its rarity, testicular cancer is also distinguished by the fact that it is one of the most treatable. Research estimates indicate that up to 95 percent of those diagnosed with it are treated successfully. This success rate holds even for cases in which the cancer has spread outside of the testes. Testicular cancer is most common among men of 15-35 years old.

Symptoms of testicular cancer

Testicular cancer does not always exhibit any symptoms and when it does, its symptoms are similar to those of non-cancerous conditions or inflammations. For these reasons, testicular cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage.

Any one or a combination of the following symptoms should serve as warning signs:

1. Lump and swelling in the testicle

A painless lump or a swelling, or a general change in the size of the testes is one sign of testicular cancer. It is not unusual for one testicle to seem larger than the other. However, a noticeable change from what is usually the normal size of either testes should be treated as a warning sign.

2. Pain or discomfort in the scrotum

Ordinarily a lump or swelling does not cause pain. In some cases of testicular cancer, however, patients report an ache in the scrotum holding the affected testes. It also could be a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum causing discomfort.

3. Enlargement and tenderness of breasts

In rare instances, the presence of testicular tumors encourages the development of breast tissue. This is a condition known as gynecomastia.

4. Accumulation of fluid in the scrotum

A sudden and perceptible collection of fluid in the scrotum should be treated as a red flag.

5. Pain in the groin area, abdomen or lower back

This occurs as an extension of the pain in the testes, if any. It also occurs if the cancer has spread from the testes to the lymph nodes around the groin and the abdomen.

It is noteworthy that the symptoms described above could arise from a non-cancerous condition. That may be reassuring news, but any symptoms also should be considered with caution, because they make testicular cancer that much harder to detect. It is advisable to see a urologist if you have experienced any of the above symptoms, if only to eliminate the presence of testicular cancer. Experienced urologists at St Pete Urology can offer help and treatment for urological problems. Their pool of trained urologists can offer consultation and guidance with any questions and concerns you may have. For more information about testicular cancer, visit the St Pete Urology website.

What is a PSA Test and When Should You Get It?

The PSA test measures the level or amount of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in blood. The prostate-specific antigen is a protein synthesized by both non-cancerous and cancerous tissue in the prostate — a tiny gland found below the bladder in men. After it is produced, the PSA finds its way into semen and in small quantities in the blood. But since cancerous cells produce more PSA than non-cancerous cells, the test is carried out to detect high levels of PSA in blood, which may indicate the existence of prostate cancer.

What are the benefits of the PSA test?

Early detection of certain types of prostate cancer is critical for successful treatment and recovery. When the PSA test shows elevated levels of the antigen in blood, it may help to identify prostate cancer that is likely to grow quickly or spread to other parts of the body. In turn, the test helps to catch and treat such cancers early before they begin causing serious symptoms or become life-threatening. Also, by enabling early detection of prostate cancer when the necessary treatment is less aggressive, the test reduces the risk of certain adverse effects of treatment, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

What are the risks associated with the PSA test?

Carrying out the test itself comes with very little risk. It requires only a simple drawing of blood used to run the test in a laboratory. However, once the results of the test are out, there are a number of potential downsides involved. For instance, since false positives are quite common and elevated PSA results may have other causes other than prostate cancer, including prostate infection (prostatitis) and enlarged prostate (BPH), the test results may expose some patients to unnecessary or inappropriate treatments.

Some types of prostate cancer don’t produce much PSA, which means that a test may incorrectly indicate that you don’t have the cancer (a false negative). And follow-up tests for checking out the underlying causes of an elevated PSA test are often stressful, invasive, time-consuming or expensive. Furthermore, living with a localized or slow-growing prostate cancer — one that doesn’t require treatment — can cause stress and anxiety.

When should you get your first PSA test?

Before you get the first PSA test, it is recommended that you discuss the benefits and risks of the test with your doctor. During the discussion, a comprehensive review of your risk factors and preferences is done. For example, the urologist will consider your age, race, size of your prostate, medications you are taking (dutasteride and finasteride affect PSA levels), and how frequently your PSA levels change when making a decision about getting the test.

At St. Pete Urology, we advise men who are at higher risk of the disease, such as African American men and those with a brother or father who have had the cancer, to get their first test at the age of 40-45. Having the test before you reach 50 helps us to establish your PSA baseline and thereafter monitor the changes in your PSA levels to determine whether or not you’ll need annual PSA screening and prostate biopsy. If your blood PSA level is very low, we’ll put off any further PSA tests. But if you are a man of moderate to low risk of the disease, we recommend you get your first PSA test at age 50 or older (generally between 55 and 70).

What happens if your first PSA test result is high?

If you don’t have symptoms of prostate cancer, another PSA test may be recommended if your first test showed an elevated PSA level. The second test is used to confirm the validity of the original finding. But if the second PSA test still gives elevated PSA level, the urologist may direct that you continue with more PSA blood tests and digital rectal exams (DREs) at frequent intervals to monitor any changes in your prostate over time.

If your blood PSA level continues to rise over time or the urologist finds a suspicious lump in your prostate during a DRE, additional tests may be suggested to establish the nature of the problem. For example, a urine test may be run to find out if you have a UTI (urinary tract infection). Imaging tests like X-rays, cystoscopy or transrectal ultrasound also may be recommended. Then if prostate cancer is suspected, the urologist carries out a prostate biopsy — collecting multiple samples of tissue from your prostate by inserting hollow needles into the gland and withdrawing tissue. The tissues are examined under a microscope by a pathologist to confirm the cancer.

Treatment of prostate cancer

The type of treatment recommended for prostate cancer usually depends on whether it is early-stage or advanced-stage disease. For early-stage cancer the options include watchful waiting, radical prostatectomy, brachytherapy, conformal radiotherapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy. At St Pete Urology, watchful waiting means no immediate treatment is offered but the cancer is closely monitored through regular PSA tests. Prostatectomy involves surgically removing part of or the entire prostate; brachytherapy involves implantation of radioactive seeds into the prostate to deliver specific amounts of radiation to the tumor. Conformal and intensity modulated radiotherapies deliver targeted amounts of radiation to the tumor with minimal damage or exposure of healthy tissues.

For advanced-stage prostate cancer, which is typically a more aggressive tumor that grows quickly and spreads faster to other areas of the body, treatment includes chemotherapy and androgen deprivation therapy. Chemotherapy can eliminate cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body. Likewise, androgen deprivation therapy (androgen suppression therapy or ADT) is used to reduce the effect of androgens — male hormones that stimulate cancer growth — thereby slowing down or stopping cancer growth.

At St Pete Urology, we talk to our patients openly and candidly about the risks and benefits of the PSA test before we can advise them to get it. We also discuss the results of the tests, give our recommendations for those with positive results and typically repeat the PSA test for those with negative results. Our patients have always told us that our attention to detail, quality of interactions and efficiency during their visits is unmatched. If you would like to know more about the PSA test, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

What kinds of prostate problems are common in men over 50?

The prostate is a tiny walnut-sized gland that surrounds the urethra. But with hormonal changes that come with age, men of all ages usually experience changes in their prostate. As a result of these changes, prostate issues are quite common in men, particularly older ones. For example, the prostate often grows and swells with age, compressing the urethra and causing urinary issues.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

With the prostate, there are usually two main issues: benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. For men older than 50, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the most frequent prostate issue. BPH, also called an enlarged prostate, means a non-cancerous increase in the number and size of prostate cells — so basically, it is an unhealthy increase in prostate size. While what triggers BPH isn’t well understood, it is believed that factors such as aging, inflammation, fibrosis and hormonal changes are the causes of the condition.

An enlarged prostate presses hard on the urethra and makes urination difficult. In men with the condition, symptoms include:

  1. Frequent urination, particularly at night.
  2. Difficulty starting a urine stream.
  3. Dribbling after passing urine.
  4. Weak urine stream, or a stream that starts and stops.
  5. Inability to empty the bladder completely.

But BPH also may have rare and more severe symptoms like:

  1. Urinary tract infection
  2. Blood in urine
  3. Inability to urinate

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is another frequent condition in men. In fact, it is the most common cancer after skin cancer, with about 1-in-6 American men being diagnosed with the disease during his lifetime. And like BPH, the cancer is most common in older men, with two-thirds of men diagnosed with the condition usually over age 65.

The cause of prostate cancer isn’t clear, but risk factors include age, family history, race and diet. The cancer grows slowly and rarely shows symptoms, so most men may never know that they have developed the disease until it is in advanced stage. But that also means only around 1-in-35 men with the cancer dies of the disease. Nevertheless, while some prostate cancers grow slowly and often require no or minimal treatment, there are other types that are quite aggressive and spread really quickly.

When caught early, there is a better chance of successfully treating the cancer. However, since it has similar symptoms to BPH, the condition is quite difficult to diagnose and by the time men see blood in their urine or feel chronic pain in their thighs, hips or lower back, it is often quite late. That is why it is critical for men of average to high risk of the cancer to have annual screening as early as appropriate.

Actually, for men of average risk of prostate cancer, the discussion to begin screening should start at the age of 50. While for those of higher risk, it is prudent to begin this discussion a little earlier, though not earlier than 40. But before screening, it is vital to discuss the risks and benefits of the testing with the doctor so the test offered meets the personal preferences and values of the patient.

For more information on prostate problems and how to prevent, diagnose and treat them, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

Should You Screen for Prostate Cancer?

A visit to St Pete Urology to screen for prostate cancer is also an opportunity to have a variety of health issues resolved. St Pete Urology operates according to the principle that most health issues affecting men are interconnected and can only be treated effectively through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach. When you visit our urologists for prostate cancer information, screening, diagnosis and treatment, we extend our role to include screening for signs of mental health disorder, make efforts to influence behavior change and speak with you candidly about psychological and medical care beyond our direct involvement in treatment of urologic disease.

At St Pete Urology, we are committed to safe, holistic and effective care for all our patients. We handle diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer using the latest technological, medical and psychosocial approaches.

Tackling mental health issues during prostate cancer screening

Helping patients with mental health problems is a familiar territory for urologists at St Pete Urology, Fl. For instance, during prostate cancer screening, the urologists also screen for signs of distress, educate patients on their diagnosis, treatment and potential side effects, and provide support through referral to psychosocial services or rehabilitation programs. For men experiencing urinary tract symptoms, the urologist may conduct a functional analysis to assess the effect of the symptoms on everyday activities, recommend practical solutions such as Kegel exercises, and provide psychosocial referrals to help deal with issues related to interpersonal relationships and self-esteem. Working with our urologists not only provides the opportunity to detect and treat urological problems like prostate cancer, but also for early detection and treatment of mental health disorders.

Should you undergo prostate cancer screening?

Prostate cancer is a very common cancer so it is very important to get checked for its presence. While screening tests will not show with certainty that you have cancer, they help to find warning signs and help to detect the cancer when it is still at an early stage, making treatment easier and more effective. If one of the screening tests gives an abnormal result, you will need a biopsy of prostate tissue to confirm whether or not you have cancer. Men who want to be checked are tested using the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test and the DRE (digital rectal exam).

1. PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) blood test

PSA (Prostate-specific antigen) is an essential substance made by the cells of the prostate, typically by both normal and cancerous cells. It is predominantly found in semen. However, it also may be found in small quantities in blood. The majority of men with no prostate cancer do have PSA levels below 4 nanograms-per-milliliter [abbreviated as ng/mL] of blood. Those with higher PSA readings have a greater likelihood of developing cancer of the prostate.

While the PSA usually goes up beyond 4ng/mL as prostate cancer develops, a reading below 4 is not a guarantee that you do not have the cancer. In fact, about 15 percent of men whose PSA is under 4ng/mL are found to have the cancer upon a biopsy. Similarly, men with PSA between 4 and 10 have 25 percent chance of having the cancer, while those with PSA above 10 have a 50 percent chance of developing prostate cancer. If you have elevated PSA, your urologist may indicate that you either wait for a period of time and you repeat the test or take a prostate biopsy to confirm the cancer.

2. DRE (Digital Rectal Exam)

During a DRE (digital rectal exam), your urologist will insert a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum in order to feel or detect any hard areas, nodules or bumps on your prostate, which may be due to cancer. Prostate cancer usually starts at the back of the prostate and this can be felt through a rectal exam. The DRE may be a bit uncomfortable, particularly for men with hemorrhoids, but it is not usually painful and often takes a very short time. Although the DRE is less accurate than PSA in screening or detecting prostate cancer, its ability to occasionally find cancer in men whose PSA values are normal makes it a vital component of prostate cancer screening.

Making screening decisions

It is important to work closely with your doctor in order to make informed screening decisions. At St Pete Urology, we recommend that men should screen for prostate cancer at:

  1. Age 50 for those men who are at average risk of getting prostate cancer and are still expected to live for more than 10 years.
  2. Age 45 for men who are at high risk of developing prostate cancer, such as African Americans and men whose first-degree relative [father, son or brother] had the cancer before the age of 65 years.
  3. Age 40 for men with even greater risk, especially those who have had more than one first-degree relative get prostate cancer at a very early age.

For more information, visit the “St Pete Urology” site.

2 Effective Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed non-skin cancer in men in the United States, currently carrying a lifetime risk for diagnosis of around 15.9 percent. In most cases, prostate cancer shows a good prognosis even when not treated, though some may be quite aggressive. Presently, the lifetime risk of death due to prostate cancer is 2.8 percent, and the condition is quite rare in men younger than 50. In fact, very few men die of the cancer before age 60, and more than 70 percent of the deaths due to the cancer occur after age 75.

Even though prostate cancer typically grows very slowly or not at all, it is still advisable to start screening early before the symptoms appear. Early prostate cancer screening may help to discover any aggressive type of the cancer and ensure prompt treatment. Today, there two most effective and recommended tests for screening are prostate specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal exam (DRE).

PSA

All contemporary recommendations for prostate cancer screening incorporate the prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in serum because there is convincing evidence that PSA-based screening detects many cases of asymptomatic prostate cancer. Studies also have shown that a vast majority of men who have asymptomatic cancer detected through the PSA test have tumors that either will fail to progress or will grow so slowly that they would have shown no symptoms for the patient’s lifetime. If your PSA level is high, your urologist will recommend either waiting for a period and then repeating the test or doing a prostate biopsy to confirm if you have the cancer. When interpreting your PSA results, your urologist will consider many factors, such as race, age and family history.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

During DRE, the urologist inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for any hard areas or bumps on the prostate, which might indicate cancer. The exam may be slightly uncomfortable, but is never painful and just takes a short time. While the digital rectal exam may be less effective than the PSA in detecting prostate cancer, it sometimes can detect cancer in men with normal PSA levels. For this reason it is a critical component of prostate cancer screening.

What next after screening?

PSA and DRE tests are simply used to detect the warning signs of prostate cancer, but in reality they do not actually confirm if you have cancer. If the test results are abnormal, your urologist will use a prostate biopsy for confirmation. If there is cancer, a prostate biopsy also will help determine the aggressiveness and influence the urologist’s decision as to whether or not you need treatment. Not every patient must be treated and those with non-aggressive cancer will just be actively monitored. The decision on whether you get treated is very important and is usually based on results of these tests. For more information on early prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, visit the site, St Pete urology.

What is The Prostate and Prostate Enlargement?

The prostate gland (commonly called prostate) is a small, chestnut-sized organ in men located beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum (back passage). The urethra, the tube that passes urine from the bladder to the penis, runs through the prostate. By producing a fluid called prostatic fluid that makes up around 15-30 percent of the total volume of semen, the prostate plays a significant role in the function and viability of sperm cells and is critical for a man’s fertility.

Prostatic fluid contains citric acid, zinc, spermine and prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which protect and enrich sperm and reduces acidity of the vaginal canal. Muscles of the prostate usually press into the urethra during ejaculation, helping sperm to move through the urethra.

What is prostate enlargement?

While the prostate is usually a small gland, it typically grows bigger with age. In fact, from birth to early 20s, the prostate grows by around 8 times its initial size. Then from around the age of 25 to early 50s the prostate doubles in size and continues to grow gradually. It is this second phase of growth of the gland which, in later years, results in a non-cancerous condition called benign prostatic enlargement (BPE) or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

As the prostate grows larger, it causes the muscles at the base of the bladder to become thicker and pressures the urethra to become narrower. By squeezing the urethra more tightly, the enlarged prostate makes it difficult to urinate. The bladder also may become more sensitive, causing a need to pass urine more frequently and suddenly. In some cases, prostate enlargement may cause a blockage that triggers repeated urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney damage, and acute urinary retention (sudden inability to pass urine).

How common is prostate enlargement?

Although prostate growth continues almost throughout a man’s life, the resulting enlargement does not usually cause serious problems until late in life. An enlarged prostate hardly causes symptoms before the age of 40, but some symptoms occur in half of men in their 60s and in up to 90 percent of men in their 70s and 80s. In the United States, as many as 14 million men experience lower urinary tract problems related to benign prostatic hyperplasia while at least 400,000 annual hospital stays involve a diagnosis of prostate enlargement.

You are more likely to have BPH if:

  • You are 40 or older.
  • You have a family history of BPH.
  • You lack physical exercise.
  • You have erectile dysfunction.
  • You have medical conditions like type-II diabetes, obesity, circulatory and heart disease.


Common symptoms of prostate enlargement include:

  • Urinating 8 or more times a day (urine frequency).
  • Inability to delay urination (urine urgency).
  • Trouble starting to urinate.
  • A weak or interrupted urine stream.
  • Inability to empty your bladder completely (urine retention).
  • Dribbling at the end of urination.
  • Accidental leakage of urine (urinary incontinence).
  • Pain during urination or after ejaculation.
  • Unusual color or smell of urine.
  • Blood in urine.

Most of these symptoms are not specific to benign prostatic enlargement and may be caused by bladder problems, prostatitis, urinary tract infections (UTIs), or a more serious problem such as prostate cancer. Therefore, men with such symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Diagnosis and treatment of prostate enlargement

When you visit a GP or a specialist such as urologist, various steps will be taken to determine the cause of your symptoms. The doctor will take your medical, personal and family history, ask questions about the symptoms and their effect on your life and conduct a physical examination to check the size, feel and shape of your prostate. The urologist also may request tests such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and ultrasound scan to rule out any serious complications.

There are many treatment options for BPH. For instance, the doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, bladder training exercises or medications (such as muscle relaxants and hormone blockers). The doctor also may perform surgery to correct the problem.

At St. Pete Urology, we have a highly skilled team of urologists with a great deal of experience diagnosing and treating BPH and other urinary problems. We fix these issues quickly, safely and effectively, helping you to resume your normal life and activities. For more information on treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, visit the site, St Pete Urology.