BPH and Prostate Cancer: How to Differentiate

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Enlarged Prostate Plano TXThe way that we have learned to assess our health is by recognizing symptoms. When we have no symptoms, we can feel pretty good about our general health. When symptoms occur, there is a natural drive to want to understand them, especially if those symptoms linger for any length of time. In recent decades, a lot of focus has been placed on women’s health and men’s health respectively. This is beneficial because there are differences in anatomy and chemical makeup that affect men and women in unique ways. This focus has led to a better understanding of conditions like BPH, or benign prostate hyperplasia, and prostate cancer.

Both of these conditions affect the walnut-sized gland that lies just beneath the bladder in the male anatomy. The prostate gland that is affected by either benign prostate hyperplasia or prostate cancer may enlarge. Additionally, the two conditions also share certain symptoms and may affect men older than age 50. Because of these similarities, a man who demonstrates symptoms of an enlarged prostate may immediately become concerned about the chance of prostate cancer.

Symptoms of Enlarged Prostate

To have symptoms such as weak urine stream, difficulty with the onset of urine flow, or the need to urinate frequently doesn’t mean you have prostate cancer. These symptoms do indicate that your prostate may be enlarged. They indicate that you need to see an experienced urologist for further testing. Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among men but can be treated successfully with an early diagnosis.

How can we tell?

The purpose of a medical evaluation for symptoms of enlarged prostate is to confirm the underlying cause. It isn’t enough to look at symptoms because, in most cases, the early stages of prostate cancer are asymptomatic.

A urologic exam to differentiate between BPH and prostate cancer is likely to involve a physical examination of the prostate. Yes, the digital rectal exam. Additionally, a PSA blood screen may be performed to measure the level of prostate-specific antigen in the body. It is important to understand that a high PSA is not a confirmation of prostate cancer. This measurement alerts us that more testing is necessary. This may include an ultrasound of the prostate gland, and a biopsy to observe a small sample of prostate tissue under a microscope.

Prostate health is an important subject matter for all men. If you would like to schedule a prostate exam, we’re here to help you. Call (972) 403-5425.

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