What You Need to Know
The prostate gland is a tiny fig-sized organ that lies just beneath the bladder; the urethra runs through it releasing urine, and the prostate also produces semen. As men age, it can become enlarged, infected and cancerous. Prostate cancer is the third leading cancer among males. It is often a silent killer, as it rarely shows signs or symptoms until it has developed maturely and even metastasized into other areas of the body.1 This year alone, it will take over 31,620 men’s lives. But it doesn’t have to be this way! With just a standard examination and regular checkups, prostate cancer can be diagnosed and treated effectively, alleviating these grim statistics. Early diagnosis is critical and achievable with the right steps. Due to prompt diagnosis, 3 million men in the US are prostate cancer survivors!2
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
There are several distinctive tests that urologists use to determine prostate cancer or prostate disorders in men. The first is a digital examination by palpitating the prostate through the rectum to feel if it is enlarged. The second test is done through a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) count, which tests the blood for specific protein-synthesized prostate cells—the higher the number of PSA, the more likelihood of impending prostate cancer. There is also a more advanced test of free-range prostate PSA cells; this test typically reads higher in men that have undiagnosed prostate cancer. The earlier your PSA levels are checked, the better your chances of successful treatment and survival rate.
The normal PSA level is 4.0, which is four nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/ml), but in younger men, an average of 2.5 ng/ml is normal, while in older men a reading above four may not necessarily be alarming.
Some of the Alternative Reasons PSA Could be High are the Following:
• Being elderly
• Having an enlarged prostate
• Infection of the prostate
• Continuous pressure on the prostate (i.e., from tight clothing or bike riding)
• Prescription medications
Certain medications, herbal supplementation or being overweight can also have a counter effect on your PSA levels. For example, a person taking a daily aspirin may have a lower PSA level due to the effect of the medicine on the blood protein count.
Before you are tested, it’s imperative to tell your physician everything that you are taking, or any other health conditions or symptoms that you are experiencing. Additional more detailed testing includes transrectal MRI or transrectal ultrasound, as well as biopsies.
If diagnosed with cancer, a Gleason Score biopsy will be taken to determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer. This grading system allows urologists to choose the appropriate and optimal treatment option.
Even Though There are Rarely Signs of Early Prostate Issues, Some of the Most Common Symptoms of the Disorder are:
• Weak urination
• Interrupted urination
• Frequent urination
• Blood in urine
• Painful ejaculations
• Pain in pelvis, hips or thighs
All treatment options are not going to be suitable for every prostate cancer case. Depending on the patient’s overall health, age, stage of cancer, PSA or Gleason scores, size of the tumor and personal circumstances, the treatment may vary significantly. For some patients hormone therapy is appropriate, and for others, a “watch and wait” approach is suitable. In some instances, a single surgical removal may be fitting, while for others radiation therapy or more invasive surgical and oncology options are better suited. You should always consult with an experienced urologist to determine your best plan of action when dealing with any prostate issues.
Lexington Clinic-Central Kentucky’s Largest Urologic Group Practice
The physicians and providers at Lexington Clinic Urology and Commonwealth Urology/Urologic Associates offer a wide range of comprehensive urologic services. With 12 physicians in five convenient locations in Lexington, Frankfort and Georgetown, they are the largest urology group practice in Central and Eastern Kentucky. Their team provides in-office care and surgical services for patients. Lexington Clinic Urology and Commonwealth Urology/ Urologic Associates offer a wide range of services from acute problems, such as urinary infections and kidney stones, to chronic issues, such as prostate problems or urinary incontinence.
Lexington Clinic is Central Kentucky’s largest and oldest medical group. With 200+ providers in more than 30 specialties, they have taken care of 600,000+ patients annually in the Lexington community since 1920.
To find the services you need, or if you have questions about what doctor or provider can best serve you, please contact their Referral Liaison at (859) 258-4362.