The walnut-sized prostate can sure cause oversized problems. Topping the list is prostate cancer. It’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, ranking second only to lung cancer in the number of men who die from it.
Less serious prostate problems that may be confused with cancer include prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate, and prostate enlargement, also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). So, what’s a guy to do?
To Screen or Not to Screen
Doctors use two tools to screen for prostate cancer. One checks for elevated levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood. The other is the digital rectal exam (DRE). Medical experts disagree about prostate screening recommendations, because some research has questioned whether the tests save lives. Others are concerned about risks like over diagnosis. The National Cancer Institute advises men to discuss screening and its risks and benefits with their doctors. The benefit of finding cancer at an early stage may outweigh the risks of screening for men at the highest risk. Proven risks for prostate cancer include being 50 or older; having African-American ancestry; having a brother, father or son with the disease; and eating a high-fat diet.
Some men with prostate cancer have no symptoms. Others may notice:
These symptoms can also signal a less urgent prostate problem. But, they should prompt a call to your doctor.
Proactive Prostate Measures
Treatments for prostate problems vary from nonsurgical to surgical. Medication may help treat BPH and prostatitis. About one-third of men who require surgery to remove prostate cancer now benefit from a less invasive procedure using the da Vinci® Surgical System. Men whose surgeons use the system tend to leave the hospital and return to regular activities sooner. Read more about the da Vinci, now available at Botsford Hospital. Discuss all available treatment options with your doctor, so you can make the best choice.
Botsford is offering prostate cancer screenings on Cancer Education & Screening Day, October 2, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.