BPH and prostate cancer are two very different conditions with similar symptoms and you are not at a higher risk of prostate cancer if you have BPH. Benign prostatic hyperplasia is an abnormal enlargement of the prostate that occurs in men as they age. Prostate cancer, on the other hand, is cancer that develops in a man’s prostate.
This article discusses the similarities between the two conditions and explains how you can diagnose and treat each of them. Although similar, these two conditions require specific treatments and you should contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms. Additionally prostate supplements such as Prostate 911 may help reduce symptoms, although research is still needed to confirm its effectiveness.
What are BPH and Prostate Cancer?
Both BPH and prostate cancer affect the prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland just above the bladder. The correct function of the prostate is to produce the liquid part of the semen. The prostate surrounds the urethra. It also carries urine out of the body from the bladder.
What are the symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer?
BPH and prostate cancer have similar symptoms, so it can be difficult to tell which one is present. As men get older, their prostate is more likely to grow, and as it grows, it squeezes the urethra. The pressure can prevent urine from passing through the urethra and out of your body. However, symptoms of prostate cancer do not usually start until the cancer becomes large enough to put pressure on the urethra.
Symptoms of BPH and prostate cancer:
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Problems urinating
- Weak or dripping urine system
- Rare flow of urine that starts and stops
- The feeling that your bladder is never empty
Prostate cancer can also include these symptoms:
- Painful or burning sensation
- Blood in the urine
- Having trouble getting an erection
- Painful ejaculation
- Less fluid when ejaculating
- Blood in your semen
What are the risk factors?
The likelihood of developing BPH or prostate cancer increases with age, and standing conditions usually do not affect men under 40 years of age. There are a few other factors that pose risks for developing both conditions:
- Your Race: BPH and prostate cancer are more common in African American men than in Asian Americans.
- Your family history: People can have genetic predispositions to both BPH and prostate cancer.
- Your Weight: Obesity increases your risk of BPH, but it’s not clear how weight affects it Prostate cancer.
Other risks for BPH are:
- Pre-existing conditions: Diabetes and heart disease increase the chances of developing BPH and prostate cancer.
- Some medicines: Some antihypertensive medicines known as beta blockers can affect your risk of BPH.
Other risks for prostate cancer:
- Your Location: Men who live in North America and Europe are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those who live in Africa, Asia, and South America. Your risk of dying from prostate cancer is highest in the northern states, possibly due to lower vitamin D levels.
- Environmental exposure: Firefighters often work with chemicals that increase their risk of developing prostate cancer.
How is each condition diagnosed?
To diagnose both BPH and prostate cancer, you should see a urologist. Doctors mostly use the same tests to diagnose both conditions.
- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test: The PSA test detects a protein that your prostate produces. As your prostate grows, it produces more protein. Higher PSA levels tell your doctor that the prostate has actually grown. However, it doesn’t tell them the cause of the growth.
- Digital rectal exam (DRE): Your doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum. The test will show if your prostate is just large or abnormally shaped. You will need additional testing if your doctor rules out BPH as the cause of your symptoms.
Additional tests used to diagnose BPH
There are additional tests to confirm that you have BPH that include:
- Urine flow tests, which measure the speed of your urine flow
- Post-void residual volume test, which measures how much urine is left in your bladder after you urinate
Additional tests to diagnose prostate cancer
- Ultrasound waves that create an image of your prostate.
- A biopsy, where a sample of your prostate tissue is taken to check for abnormalities under a microscope.
The accepted treatments for BPH and prostate cancer will depend on the size of your prostate and the severity of your symptoms. Mild to moderate symptoms do not require as thorough treatment, and your doctor may or may not prescribe any of the following medications:
- Alpha blockers – relax the muscles in your bladder and prostate so you can urinate more easily.
- 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, which shrink your prostate
For heavy BPH symptoms, Doctors can recommend surgery. Operations for BPH include:
- Transurethral resection of the prostate: removes the inner part of the prostate.
- Transurethral incision of the prostate: Small incisions in the prostate that allow urine to pass through.
- Transurethral needle ablation: uses radio waves to burn prostate tissue
- Laser therapy: uses laser energy to remove excess prostate tissue.
- Open Prostatectomy: This procedure is only suitable for people with excessive magnification. The surgeon will make an incision in your lower abdomen and remove prostate tissue through the opening.
Prostate Cancer Treatments
Treatments for prostate cancer include.
- Hormone therapy
Bottom line – are people with BPH at risk of cancer?
BPH is not inherently at risk for prostate cancer, although the two conditions share many of the same symptoms. Both BPH and prostate cancer cause urination problems such as nocturia, a feeling of not being able to empty your bladder completely, or frequent urination.
Treatment for each condition varies significantly as BPH is not a life-threatening condition. Prostate cancer treatments are broadly similar to other cancer treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Although there is no cure for BPH, there is additions on the market that help relieve symptoms. You can also reduce your risk of prostate cancer and BPH with a healthy diet and regular exercise.