Prostate symptoms often are totally unrelated to more serious problems but, on occasion, they can be a sign of prostate cancer. That is why we want you to take this opportunity to learn about LUTS and prostate cancer, which is the second most common cause of cancer in men (just behind skin cancer) and the second most common cause of cancer deaths in men (behind lung cancer).
About 10% of men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 165,000 men will be hit with prostate cancer in 2018 and nearly 30,000 of them will die from it.
While it is rare before the age of forty, 4 out of every 10 cases will be diagnosed in men under the age of 65. African-American men are more vulnerable, as well.
We do not want to frighten you because the vast majority of men with the symptoms of LUTS have only an enlarged prostate, which is treated easily. However, every older man with symptoms of urinary frequency or urgency should have a prostate check that includes an exam and a blood test for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA).
Men with prostate cancer will have a very high level of PSA or may have a rapid increase in their blood level of PSA as they develop prostate cancer. On the other hand, some men with prostate cancer have a normal PSA. Complicating matters, other conditions can lead to an elevated PSA level (e.g., prostate infections, benign prostatic hypertrophy). Nevertheless, every man should have a baseline level drawn and have any rise checked carefully by a urologist.
Most men with LUTS will improve quickly with Flomax (or more slowly with Cialis) but anyone who does not improve, should also have a very careful prostate evaluation.
We will post more educational material in the coming weeks. If you would like to learn more about prostate health, including information about LUTS and prostate cancer, leave your email and we’ll be sure to include you in the discussion of this very important men’s health issue.