Celebrating Men’s Health by Understanding Prostate Cancer

In the month of June, we want to bring awareness to men’s health and more specifically, prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and one out of every seven American men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.

The prostate is a small gland in the male reproductive system that is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. This organ surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. The prostate is typically the size of a walnut, but can grow larger as men age.

As the prostate grows, it can squeeze the urethra and slow down the flow of urine. This growth is often diagnosed as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). “This is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate that causes men to experience troublesome urinary symptoms, such as urinary frequency, urgency, waking up at night to urinate and slow urinary stream,” said Andrew Grollman, M.D., urologist with Lovelace Medical Group.

Although BHP is non-cancerous, other types of growths may be more aggressive and cancerous.

The most common type of prostate cancer is adenocarcinoma of the prostate, according to Dr. Grollman. This type of cancer develops when the cells in the glands that line the inside of organs grow out of control. Adenocarcinoma can occur in the breasts, colon, esophagus, lungs, pancreas and prostate.

Oftentimes, men do not know that they have prostate cancer in its early stages. Currently, 2.9 billion men are living with prostate cancer- that’s roughly the population of Chicago. “At its later stages, prostate cancer can obstruct your kidneys and cause kidney failure and flank pain. It can obstruct your bladder and cause troubles urinating. It can also metastasize  to your bones and cause lower back pain and bone fractures,” said Dr. Grollman. 

Unfortunately, there are no clinically proven dietary or medical ways to reduce your risk of prostate cancer. “The best way to prevent being affected by late stage effects of prostate cancer is to make sure you undergo screening starting at the appropriate age,” explained Dr. Grollman.

Dr. Grollman recommends men with no family history of prostate cancer be screened at age fifty and men with a family history of prostate cancer be screened at age forty-five.

Finding prostate cancer early saves lives. Lovelace offers adequate screenings for men and their prostate health.

“At Lovelace, we institute general screening for all men in the appropriate age group. This includes an annual PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). We also offer other newer blood tests such as the 4K score,” shared Dr. Grollman.

To make an appointment with Dr. Grollman or to learn more about the screenings available at Lovelace, please call 505.727.2727.