Prostate Cancer & Prostatitis

Prostate Cancer

Here are some important facts about prostate cancer:

  • Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US today
  • Prostate cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in men
  • 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer – as compared to 1 in 7 women with breast cancer
  • Prostate cancer is more common in African-American men than Caucasian men
  • 2.5 times as deadly for them

These facts are quite astonishing, yet prostate cancer is rarely in the news. Virginia Urology has a strong commitment to raising the awareness of prostate cancer throughout the community. Virginia Urology has been a title sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s African American Men’s Health Day where we have educated over 1,200 men about prostate cancer and have offered free screenings at this event.   We hosted the first Great Prostate Cancer Challenge in September 2008. This 5k run/1 mile walk and a health fair was one of 5 events held in other large cities across the country to raise money for prostate cancer awareness and research. The Richmond community was very supportive and we were able to raise over $100,000 for prostate cancer research.

Enlarged Prostate

enlarged-prostate-causes-videoAn enlarged prostate or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that often occurs in older men. This affects over 17 million men in the U.S. As men age, their hormone levels change causing the prostate to continue to grow. This excess tissue can block the urethra and obstruct the urine flow. In addition, some men often experience many of the following symptoms:

  • Frequent urination – especially at night
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
  • Sudden urge to urinate
  • Weak urine stream

The urologists may use several different diagnostic tests and procedures to determine if you have an enlarged prostate such as a digital rectal exam (DRE), cystoscopy – retrograde pyelography and a urinalysis.

There are several treatment options available that can meet the individual needs of each patient. These options range from oral medications, diet and exercise modifications or minimally-invasive surgical procedures. Also, your physician may recommend the following depending upon the severity of the enlarged prostate:

  • Microwave thermal therapy
  • GreenLight™ laser therapy
  • Prolieve®
  • Transurethral needle ablation
  • Transuretheral resection or the prostate (TURP).

Prostatitis

Prostatitis, a disease of the prostate gland, can cause groin pain/discomfort, painful urination, difficult urination and other related symptoms. The prostate gland typically functions to produce components of semen, a fluid that transports sperm. The gland, about the size and shape of a walnut or lime, is located below the bladder and surrounds the tube that transports both semen and urine out of the penis.

Prostatitis isn’t a single condition but a group of disorders with related symptoms. Prostatitis may be a short-term problem that is treated and resolves quickly.  Conversely, prostatitis may sometimes be a persistent problem that requires continued management and therapy by your physician.  Our specialists will help to determine optimal treatment plans and management to minimize symptoms and discomfort.  Diagnosis and treatment may require tests including history and physical examination, genital and rectal examination, cystoscopy (looking in the bladder with a camera), urodynamics studies (evaluating the function of the bladder), etc.

Common symptoms

Prostatitis symptoms vary, but in general, the symptoms are related to pain or discomfort in the pelvic region, problems with urination and problems with ejaculations. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urination during the day or at night
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Pain in the abdomen, groin or lower back
  • Pain in the area between the penis and rectum
  • Pain or discomfort of the penis or testicles
  • Painful ejaculations

Prostatitis and PSA levels

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous prostate tissue. Cancerous cells in the prostate typically result in higher levels of PSA than noncancerous cells do.  Therefore, levels of PSA in the blood may provide useful information for screening for prostate cancer. Other conditions, including prostatitis, can increase PSA levels.

Prostatitis doesn’t cause cancer or increase your risk of cancer. However, management of prostatitis can be important in helping your doctor interpret the results of PSA tests.

Symptoms of prostatitis may overlap other important urologic or other medical disorders.  Only a physician/specialist can differentiate prostatitis from a more serious problem, like prostate or bladder cancer.