How To Check Your Prostate
This article was co-authored by Robert Dhir, MD. Dr. Robert Dhir is a board certified Urologist, Urological Surgeon, and the Founder of HTX Urology in Houston, Texas. With over 10 years of experience, Dr. Dhirs expertise includes minimally-invasive treatments for enlarged prostate , kidney stone disease, surgical management of urological cancers, and mens health . His practice has been named a Center of Excellence for the UroLift procedure, and is a pioneer in non-surgical procedures for ED using his patented Wave Therapy. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown University and was awarded honors in pre-medical studies, urology, orthopedics, and ophthalmology. Dr. Dhir served as chief resident during his urological surgical residency at University of Texas at Houston / MD Anderson Cancer Center in addition to completing his internship in general surgery. Dr. Dhir was voted Top Doctor in Urology for 2018 to 2019, one of the top three Best Rated Urologists in 2019 & 2020 for Houston Texas, and Texas Monthly has named him to the 2019 & 2020 Texas Super Doctors Rising Stars list.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 11 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,038,621 times.
Is It True That Prostate Problems Are Common After Age 50
Its true that prostate problems are common after age 50. The good news is there are many things you can do. What Is the Prostate? The prostate is a small gland in men that helps make semen. Located just below the bladder in front of the rectum, it wraps around the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body.
The Test Is Often Not Needed
Most men with high PSAs dont have prostate cancer. Their high PSAs might be due to:
- An enlarged prostate gland.
- Recent sexual activity.
- A recent, long bike ride.
Up to 25% of men with high PSAs may have prostate cancer, depending on age and PSA level. But most of these cancers do not cause problems. It is common for older men to have some cancer cells in their prostate glands. These cancers are usually slow to grow. They are not likely to spread beyond the prostate. They usually dont cause symptoms, or death.
Studies show that routine PSA tests of 1,000 men ages 55 to 69 prevent one prostate cancer death. But the PSA also has risks.
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Nurse Counselors And Coordinators
A team of experts assists doctors on the care team. Those experts include oncology nurses, who will administer chemotherapy and other medicines, perform the tests used for monitoring the disease, and help patients cope with side effects. Case managers and patient coordinators are also part of the care team. These experts will help patients coordinate care across the team. They will also help patients make connections with experts, such as nutritionists, who can help with dietary concerns, or endocrinologists, who can help patients who are taking hormone therapy. Social workers with expertise in oncology may also help patients get help with personal challenges such as coping with the emotional burden of prostate cancer as well as helping patients navigate financial concerns, including questions about insurance coverage and family medical leave.
When Should You See A Prostate Doctor
The prostate is located between the bladder and the penis, situated just in front of the rectum. It produces fluid to nourish and protect the sperm. As men age, they should be more conscious of taking care of their prostate because several health problems may affect it.
Some of the common conditions concerning the prostate are prostatitis, enlargement of the prostate, and prostate cancer. To prevent these conditions or detect them in their early stages, you should consult a specialist once you feel any discomfort. Here are some of the signs that indicate you should see a prostate doctor:
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Referral To A Urologist
The GP may refer you to a urologist or other appropriate specialist if:
- previous treatments have not helped your urinary problems
- a urinary infection does not go away or comes back regularly
- you cannot fully empty your bladder
- you have kidney problems
- you have stress incontinence, which is when urine leaks out at times when your bladder is under pressure for example, when you cough or laugh
You should also see a specialist if the GP is concerned that your symptoms could be caused by cancer, although for most men this is not the cause.
To help find out what might be causing your symptoms and decide how to manage them, you should be offered extra tests to measure:
- how fast your urine flows
- how much urine is left in your bladder after you have peed
You may also be offered other tests, depending on your symptoms or the treatment you and your doctor are considering.
Page last reviewed: 10 February 2020 Next review due: 10 February 2023
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Doctors may also make a number of assumptions about patients, including about their family support system, their sexual orientation and their sexual interests.
Your doctor might tell you youll have an erection strong enough for intercourse, but anal penetration requires 33 percent more rigidity, Rosser said. Hes heard men say their doctors neutered them. Others have said theyd rather be dead. In all, 15 percent of all men whove had a radical prostatectomy exhibit some kind of treatment regret. For gay men, so long ignored by medicine, Rosser believes those rates are much higher.
with a postmenopausal wife who doesnt want sex anyway might just accept having a low libido, he explained. But if your partner is another man, and his drive isnt diminished, it can be a real problem.
Rosser said the silence and shame surrounding the topic allows ugly myths to flourish like that gay sex somehow caused their cancer. Guys can feel guilty, Rosser said. Or, their partners may think on some level, they can catch it.
He had some of those thoughts himself: Im a cyclist did being in the saddle too much cause it? Did enjoying receptive anal sex?
Without good data, researchers cant get to the truth, Rosser stressed.
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Find The Best Surgeon You Can Get It Done Right
Radical prostatectomy is a very difficult operation. It takes not only skill, but the kind of expertise you get only after being involved in a lot of procedures, first from the sidelines as a doctor in training, and then learning how to do it meticulously with the guidance of an expert surgeon.
The very best prostate surgeons specialize in the prostate. Thats often all they do, and they do a lot of these procedures every year.
You dont want to be part of the learning curve.
Another point: Because there are so many bad surgeons out there, you cant trust everything you read on the internet or from hospitals propaganda.
Our goal is to weed out the bad surgeons, so they stop doing procedures they arent skilled enough to do.
As for you, well, this is your one shot at this. Do your due diligence. How can you find the right surgeon? We have developed this checklist with the help of three experts. Please. Take the following things into consideration before you go under the knife:
You Think You Have A Kidney Stone
Kidney stones are most notably marked by severe pain on one side of your lower back, though other symptoms include nagging stomach pain, blood in the urine and urine that smells bad or looks cloudy. If you experience these symptoms, you should see your urologist as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.
Kidney stone pain can be very severe, and many patients report it as the worst they have ever experienced, says Mike Nguyen, MD, associate professor of clinical urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and a urologist at Keck Medicine of USC. How does this compare to the pain of childbirth? It turns out that the reported amount of pain in both situations is almost identical.
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Prostate Specific Antigen Testing
Prostate Specific Antigen is a protein made by the cells in your prostate. Your PSA levels can be measured using a blood test and give an indication of your prostate health.
A PSA test isnt a test for cancer. Higher levels of PSA might indicate prostate cancer, but a high reading could also be caused by other conditions. It is also possible to have low level readings and have prostate cancer. This means that a PSA test isnt enough to definitively diagnose or rule out prostate cancer. Your PSA levels can vary, so your doctor might run this test a few times to compare your results and help determine your risk of prostate cancer.
Reasons Why You Should See A Urologist
For most men over the age of forty, the last thing they want to do is to make an appointment with another doctor. While it may seem like regular visits with your primary care physician can serve as a catch-all for all factors of your health, the specialty offered by urologists can help round out your total body wellness. Despite being a more specialized field, urologists actually can help with a variety of issues, including certain cancers, bladder conditions, kidney stones, and erectile dysfunction. Taking charge of your sexual, urinary, and prostate health early on can help prevent more serious issues down the road. In addition to preventing more serious conditions, staying up to date on urologist visits can improve your overall quality of life. If youre above the age of forty and experience any of these conditions, its worth adding another appointment to your calendar to see a urologist.
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How Does The Doctor Know I Have Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly over many years. Most men with early prostate cancer dont have changes that they notice. Signs of prostate cancer most often show up later, as the cancer grows.
Some signs of prostate cancer are trouble peeing, blood in the pee , trouble getting an erection, and pain in the back, hips, ribs, or other bones.
If signs are pointing to prostate cancer, tests will be done. Most men will not need all of them, but here are some of the tests you may need:
PSA blood test: PSA is a protein thats made by the prostate gland and can be found in the blood. Prostate cancer can make PSA levels go up. Blood tests will be done to see what your PSA level is and how it changes over time.
Transrectal ultrasound : For this test, a small wand is put into your rectum. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off the prostate gland. The echoes are made into a picture on a computer screen.
MRI: This test uses radio waves and strong magnets to make detailed pictures of the body. MRI scans can be used to look at the prostate and can show if the cancer has spread outside the prostate to nearby organs.
Prostate biopsy: For a prostate biopsy, the doctor uses a long, hollow needle to take out small pieces of the prostate where the cancer might be. This is often done while using TRUS or MRI to look at the prostate. The prostate pieces are then checked for cancer cells. Ask the doctor what kind of biopsy you need and how its done.
Bladder And Prostate Cancer
If youre like most men, when you hear urologist, you think prostate exam.
This is not necessarily untrue well want to check on your prostate health, says Dr. Gill. Believe it or not, the prostate exam is not your urologists favorite part of the visit, either.
In the current era of PSA testing, cancer is found less often on prostate exams than it once was.
But the exam remains an important part of your visit with regard to your overall prostate health not to mention it can also help us plan treatment for many prostate conditions, he says.
Should cancer be found in your prostate or bladder, urologists can offer lifesaving care. So its important to follow through when youre referred to one.
A urologist can help make sure you dont have a disease that could take away from the time you have left with loved ones, says Dr. Gill.
Robotic surgery has helped reduce the nearly week-long hospital stay for kidney, bladder or prostate cancer surgery in the past to just a few days, or even one day, today.
We use technology to help care for men in a number of ways. The field of urology is dynamic its always changing, he says.
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How Are Prostate Problems Treated
Treatment depends on which kind of prostate problem you develop.
Benign prostatic hyperplasia needs treatment only if the urinary symptoms become bothersome. BPH often responds to drugs that either:
- Relieve the tension around the urethra
- Reduce the size of the prostate itself
The FDA is revising labels on several BPH drugs — Proscar, Avodart, and Jalyn — to include a warning that the drugs may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer.
If medication does not relieve the symptoms, surgery may be required. Several herbs showed promise as treatment for BPH in some studies, but results are incomplete or conflicting. These include saw palmetto, beta-sitosterol, and Pygeum africanum.
Prostate cancer treatment is complex. When designing a prostate cancer treatment plan, doctors consider a man’s age, overall health, and how aggressive or widespread the prostate cancer is. All men’s cancer is unique, and their treatment will be unique. Some treatment options include:
- No treatment
- Active surveillance
- A combination of these
Should I See A Nephrologist Or A Urologist
Are you experiencing pain when you urinate, blood in your urine, discomfort in your sides, or a lack of control over when you go to the bathroom? Then its probably time to see a doctor. The question is, which type of doctor do you see?
Specific circumstances often require the assistance of a specialist. In the case of kidney and urinary troubles, there are two types of specialists who may be able to help you: nephrologists and urologists.
Whats the difference between them? Lets take a look!
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What Kind Of Treatment Will I Need
There are many ways to treat prostate cancer. The main kinds of treatment are observation, active surveillance, surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, and chemo. Sometimes more than one kind of treatment is used.
The treatment thats best for you will depend on:
- Your age
- Any other health problems you might have
- The stage and grade of the cancer
- Your feelings about the need to treat the cancer
- The chance that treatment will cure the cancer or help in some way
- Your feelings about the side effects that might come with treatment
How Serious Is My Cancer
If you have prostate cancer, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called the stage of the cancer. You may have heard other people say that their cancer was stage 1 or stage 2. Your doctor will want to find out the stage of your cancer to help decide what types of treatment might be best for you.
The stage is based on the growth or spread of the cancer through the prostate, and if it has spread to other parts of your body. It also includes your blood PSA level and the grade of the cancer. The prostate cancer cells are given a grade, based on how they look under a microscope. Those that look very different from normal cells are given a higher grade and are likely to grow faster. The grade of your cancer might be given as a Gleason score or a Grade Group . Ask your doctor to explain the grade of your cancer. The grade also can helpdecide which treatments might be best for you.
Your cancer can be stage 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, like stage 4, means a more serious cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
If your cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body, it might also be given a risk group. The risk group is based on the extent of the cancer in the prostate, your PSA level, and the results of the prostate biopsy. The risk group can help tell if other tests should be done, and what the best treatment options might be.
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Whos Right Good Question
Iâm an 85 year old..feel like a kid most of the time.. Had T1C rating last summer..urologist, after negative bone scan and MRIs gave the usual choices, or optionsâ¦..I waited till Jan of 2011 and saw an oncologist who talked about Cyberknife in a rather positive way while not specifically stating that he recommneded it.. My internist said, do nothing..at my age something else will get meâ¦added that PSA tests are no longer done on octogeneraiansâ¦.
I opted for the 5 day cyberknife.. had the fiducials implanted in prostate and the 5 days of Cyberknife in Mid FEb 2011..PSA from5.6 before.. was 1.4 60 days later. Nothing to itâ¦ Very pleasant experience.
Currently,have the burning in the urethra canal that was supposed to occur during the first week or so after CK radiation.. also the moderately loose bowels .. both of which started in Mid Mayâ¦The urologist thinks itâs a side affect of the radiationâ¦it may or may not be permanent..
I can live with these side effects if I have toâ¦ at my age, Iâll settle for just about anything to stay ambulatoryâ¦ Good luck to you