What Men Should Know About Their Prostate

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It’s estimated that the U.S. will have close to 238,000 new cases and 29,000 deaths from prostate cancer in 2013.

The causes of prostate cancer are not well understood but it is known that genetics, race, smoking, obesity and old age are factors that influence prostate cancer. Men with a first degree relative that had prostate cancer have eight times higher the risk of developing prostate cancer and it may occur in a  younger age.

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a gland about the size of a walnut. The prostate adds fluid to the semen when you ejaculate and it surrounds the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body.

Men may develop prostatitis (prostate inflammation), benign (non-threatening) prostatic hyperplasia or BPH (prostate enlargement) or prostate cancer.

Prostatitis (Bacterial and non-bacterial) can cause urinary infections. Symptoms include: Painful urination; fever, trouble starting a urine stream; the feeling you still have to urinate, even when you have just finished; and small amounts of blood in your urine.

For bacterial prostatitis, treatment includes long-term antibiotics, however non-bacterial prostatitis requires a comprehensive rehabilitation program that includes change in diet, warm baths and pelvic muscle exercise.

The prostate grows due to testosterone stimulation. Consequently, it squeezes the urethra. Since urine travels from the bladder through the urethra, the pressure from the enlarged prostate causes difficulty to urinate, frequent and urgent need to urinate, trouble starting a urine stream, and symptoms like prostatitis.

Treatment options include: a) observation with constant medical follow-up to make sure the kidneys are not getting damaged by the pressure created by urination, b) medication that shrinks or relaxes the prostate and c) surgery, including the minimally invasive techniques.

Prostate cancer
Discuss with your physician the available methods to detect prostate cancer, the risks and benefits, your overall health and family history of prostate cancer.

Denver Health Medical Center is one of the top Urology services ranked by the US News and World Report delivering top-notch minimally invasive therapy for genito-urinary cancer.

One of the most exciting new ways we treat prostate cancer is Cryoablation (freezing of cancer cells). This treatment is much less invasive and has fewer side effects than current treatment.

The cryoablation procedure has proven to allow fast recovery of patients, with majority of patients going home the same day or the next day after the procedure. Urinary control has not been a usual occurrence in the last 150 cases performed at Denver Health Medical Center.

Fernando Kim, M.D., chief, Urology, Denver Health Medical Center