prostate cancer

Prostate Cancer Isn’t the Only Prostate Issue Men Should Be Aware Of

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, but cancer isn’t the only condition that affects the prostate.

“The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system,” said John S. Banerji, MD, a urologist with Penn Highlands Urology in DuBois and Clearfield. “Its primary function is to produce a fluid that mixes with sperm to create semen. This fluid nourishes the sperm and protects it as it travels through the reproductive system.”

“The prostate is located below the bladder, in front of the rectum, and it wraps around part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body,” said Dr. Banerji. “Because of its location, prostate problems can cause issues with urination, as well as sex and reproduction.”

There are three main issues that men should be aware of: prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.

Prostate issue #1: Prostatitis

Prostatitis occurs when the prostate becomes inflamed or infected. It is often, but not always, caused by a bacterial infection. Patients with prostatitis experience painful or difficult urination and pain in the groin, pelvic area and genitals. Fevers and chills are also frequent symptoms. Many times, prostatitis can be treated with antibiotics. A urologist may also recommend alpha blockers to relax the bladder and make urination less painful.

Prostate issue #2: Benign prostatic hyperplasia

Also known as an “enlarged prostate,” benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. BPH generally occurs after age 50, and it is an expected part of the aging process. In fact, it is the most common benign tumor found in men. As the prostate grows, it constricts the urethra, causing difficulty with urination. About half of patients with BPH will not experience any symptoms, but symptoms may increase later in life.

For mild cases of BPH, medications such as alpha blockers like Flomax may be prescribed, as well as medications that shrink the prostate by preventing testosterone conversion, like Finasteride (Proscar). For more severe cases of BPH, minimally invasive surgery or surgical therapy may be the best option. Urolift is a novel minimally invasive technique, in use for about 8 years, with good results.

This places staples/clips which push the prostate outwards thus clearing obstruction. Surgeons may remove part of the prostate, make incisions in the gland that allow urine to pass through the urethra, or shrink it by using laser therapy or thermal energy(water vapour).

Prostate issue #3: Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in men after skin cancer. In many cases, prostate cancer grows slowly and can often be treated successfully when detected early. When considering whether to be screened for prostate cancer, there are many factors to take into account, including age, health and family history. The American Cancer Society recommends that men talk with their healthcare provider about whether prostate cancer screening is right for them. If in fact a diagnosis of prostate cancer is made, and the patient has a good life expectancy, Robotic da Vinci prostatectomy is offered by Dr. Banerji at Penn Highlands DuBois.

Improving your prostate health

There is no surefire way to guarantee a healthy prostate, but you can reduce your risk for prostate issues by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, quitting smoking and exercising regularly are steps every man should take for a healthier prostate and healthier life.

Penn Highlands Healthcare delivers comprehensive urology care to the region. Penn Highlands’ board-certified urologists are highly trained to treat disorders of the male reproductive organs and the urinary tract for both males and females, including prostatitis, benign prostatic hyperplasia, urinary incontinence, overactive bladder, erectile dysfunction, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer and testicular cancer. To schedule an appointment or to learn more, visit