Please Note: Westmed’s Norwalk office and lab will close at 3pm on Friday, 07/19 and will be CLOSED on Saturday, 07/20 & 07/27 due to renovations.
Wellness & CareManaging a Condition › MYTH BUSTER: The Facts About Prostate Health
June 24, 2019

MYTH BUSTER: The Facts About Prostate Health

MYTH BUSTER: The Facts About Prostate Health

Often, when men experience bothersome symptoms related to their urinary tract, they are concerned that the issue is a serious prostate condition. The reality is many of these symptoms can be related to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH is the most common benign growth found in American men. Unlike prostate cancer, BPH is a chronic condition that is associated with progressive lower urinary tract symptoms and it affects more than 50 percent of men over the age of 60.

In honor of men’s health month, Westmed urologist Dr. Judd Boczko is busting some common myths about BPH and prostate cancer to help spread awareness about these very different conditions that affect the prostate.

MYTH 1:  If you don’t have any symptoms, you don’t have prostate cancer.

      • FACT: Prostate cancer is different from BPH. The gross majority of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer have no symptoms.
      • BPH (enlarged prostate) generally affects an area of the prostate called the transitional zone, while prostate cancer affects the peripheral zone. The transitional zone is where the urine runs through and this is why an enlarged prostate can cause urinary symptoms.
      • Prostate cancer often causes symptoms only after it spreads to other areas of the body, such as the bones or the bladder. This is why regular screening for prostate cancer makes sense.

 

MYTH 2: My doctor said I have an enlarged prostate but I don’t have any symptoms. That means my enlarged prostate will not cause me issues and I do not need to treat it.

      • FACT: Not every man with an enlarged prostate will present with symptoms and there are men who learn to live with their symptoms without seeking treatment for them. Men who are told they have an enlarged prostate should at least seek a consult with a urologist.
      • The problem with ignoring your symptoms is that the bladder needs to continually work much harder to expel urine than it should. Over years, this could weaken and tire out the bladder, leading to what we call a neurogenic bladder: a bladder that does not work properly. These scenarios do not cause symptoms until it is too late and the man starts to suffer from urinary tract infections, bladder stones, urinary retention or kidney issues.

 

MYTH 3: Enlarged prostates develop with old age and you can’t do much about it.

      • FACT:  It is true that more than 50 percent of men already have enlarged prostates by the time they reach the age of 60. But there is a wide spectrum of treatment options, ranging from behavioral therapy, medicines, office-based steam or lifting procedures and surgical based therapies to help reverse the effects of enlarged prostate and alleviate symptoms for this condition.

 

MYTH 4: I have no family history of prostate cancer, so I don’t need to worry about it.

      • FACT: While family history does raise a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer, it is often not a genetic trait. Many men develop prostate cancer with no family history. Similarly, just because there is a family history of prostate cancer does not mean a man won’t develop it himself.

 

MYTH 5:  BPH only affects men in their 70s and 80s.

      • FACT: Many men develop issues in their earlier years. In fact, depending on how a prostate grows, it can start to cause symptoms as early as in their 40s.
      • Contrarily, just because a man presents with bothersome urinary symptoms does not necessarily mean he has an enlarged prostate. There are various other medical diagnoses that can cause these symptoms and this is what a urologist would set out to diagnose.

 

With BPH, as the prostate grows, it presses against and narrows the urethra, causing a urinary obstruction that makes it difficult to urinate. If BPH is left untreated and worsens, it has the potential to cause permanent damage to the urinary system. If you have been experiencing symptoms related to your urinary tract, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a urologist so you can take control of your health today. Also don’t forget to schedule annual physicals to ensure you are having your prostate checked for cancer on a regular basis. Preventative screenings like prostate checks can make all the difference in saving lives.