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Do you Suffer from an Enlarged Prostate?
The Medical Expenses of BPH
In the US, about 10% of men will, at some point, have some type of medical procedure performed because of their prostate. After the age of 65, prostate surgery is the second most common surgery performed on men. Yearly medical costs for managing BPH surpass 3,000,000,000 dollars in the US alone!
The signs of an enlarged prostate are often the same as the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer; however, BPH is much more common. Prostatism (prostate enlargement) can be caused by prostate cancer; therefore, it is important to get a professional medical opinion to ensure a proper diagnosis. The physician may also need to rule out prostate infection and other possible causes of the patient's symptoms.
You Should be Tested
A rectal examination should be part of each annual physical checkup recommended for men beginning about age 40-50 years. The physician can feel the surface of the prostate through the wall of the bowel. Abnormal tissue developments can be investigated through further testing.
Researchers are testing new technologies and laboratory tests that could possibly improve the early detection rate of prostate cancer and other prostatic diseases. One method is a blood test that measures concentrations of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), a protein produced in the prostate that may be elevated due to aging. If the prostate is enlarged or infected, cancer may be present and additional testing must be done. PSA is the primary tool responsible for the increased incidence of prostate cancer detection.
Other types of tests are also available. Unfortunately, these tests are more invasive and can be very painful. One such test studies the bladder through the use of a cystoscope, a thin tube that is inserted into the urethra and down into the bladder. The cystoscope allows your doctor to actually see the inside of your bladder. If a severe blockage is found to be caused by the prostate, a procedure called a transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, may be performed.
Commonly Prescribed Treatments
A TURP is an operation involving the partial removal of the prostate gland by passing a device through the urethra down to the prostate gland. While TURP is often successful at treating BPH, 5-10% of men will have some kind of sexual dysfunction and become impotent from the procedure.
Most doctors usually prescribe drugs to slow prostate growth by
terminating the production of the enzyme 5-Alpha Reductase, which causes the
buildup of DHT. Proscar, the drug of choice by most physicians, does effectively
shrink the size of the prostate gland; however, more
than 50% of men have found it to become ineffective after taking it for just one
year. Proscar is an expensive and largely temporary treatment with potentially
dangerous side effects. According to Dr. James Balch, many men have experienced
a decrease in libido (sexual desire) and impotence from the drug. Taking Proscar
can also hide the presence of prostate cancer because it does block the enzyme
5-Alpha Reductase, which renders the PSA test ineffective.