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Southern California Urology Institute
Gary Bellman, M.D., F.R.C.S.
Board Certified Urologist
Fellowship Trained, Certified in Robotic Surgery

Expertise, Understanding, and
Extraordinary Results


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Understanding Prostate Issues & Symptoms

By: Dr. Gary Bellman on January 30, 2014, 11:59 am

It's true that prostate problems are common after age 50.  The good news is there are many things you can do.
 
Only men have a prostate gland.  The prostate is usually the size and shape of a walnut.  It lies underneath the bladder and surrounds the tube (the urethra) that men pass urine and semen through
 
The three most common prostate problems are:
  • an enlarged prostate- this is the most common prostate problem
  • prostatitis- an inflammation or infection of the prostate
  • prostate cancer
If you have problems urinating, this could be a sign of a problem in your prostate.  This is because the prostate surrounds the tube you pass urine through (the urethra).  For some men, problems urinating could be a sign that they have a prostate problem, usually an enlarged prostate.  Early prostate cancer doesn’t usually cause problems urinating.
 
What is an enlarged prostate?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is the medical term used to describe an enlarged prostate.  It means a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland.
 
An enlarged prostate is common for men after the age of about 50.  About 4 out of every 10 men (40%) over the age of 50 and 3 out of 4 men (75%) in their 70s have urinary symptoms that are caused by an enlarged prostate.
 
Having an enlarged prostate affects men in different ways.  Some men are able to cope with their symptoms well and do not need treatment. Having an enlarged prostate does not increase your risk of getting prostate cancer.  However, men can have an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer at the same time.
 
What is prostatitis?
Prostatitis can be caused by either an infection or an inflammation of the prostate.  It is not a form of cancer.   Prostatitis can cause a wide variety of symptoms, which differ from man to man.  In severe cases it can cause fever and sweating and needs treatment in hospital.
 
Prostatitis is a common condition.  It can affect men of any age but it’s most common in younger and middle aged men, typically between 30 and 50. There are different types of prostatitis, which are treated in different ways. Some men take antibiotics or other medicines called alpha-blockers.

What is prostate cancer?
Normally the growth of all cells is carefully controlled in the body.  As cells die, they are replaced in an orderly fashion.  Cancer can develop when cells start to grow in an uncontrolled way.  If this happens in the prostate, then prostate cancer can develop.
 
Who is at risk of prostate cancer?
There are certain risk factors that may increase your chance of getting prostate cancer.
  • Age- Prostate cancer mainly affects men over the age of 50 and your risk increases with age. The average age for men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer is between 70 and 74 years. If you are under 50 then your risk of getting prostate cancer is very low – it’s possible, but it’s rare.
  • Family history and genetics- Inside every cell of our body is a set of instructions called genes.  These are inherited from our parents.  Genes control how the body grows, works and what it looks like. Researchers have found some characteristics in genes that might be passed on through your parents and could increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. Only 5% -10% of prostate cancers are thought to be strongly linked to an inherited risk.  You are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother has been diagnosed with it, compared with a man who has no affected relatives. There may be a higher chance of you developing prostate cancer if your relative was under 60 when he was diagnosed or if you have more than one close relative with prostate cancer.
  • African American men are more likely to get prostate cancer than men of other ethnic backgrounds. The reasons for this are not yet clear but might be linked to genes.
  • Lifestyle- no one knows how to prevent prostate cancer, but diet and a healthy lifestyle may be important in protecting against the disease.

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer can grow slowly or very quickly.  Most prostate cancer is slow-growing to start with and may never cause any symptoms or problems in a man’s lifetime.  But some men will have cancer that is more aggressive  or ‘high risk’.  This needs treatment to help prevent or delay it spreading outside the prostate. If a man does have symptoms, such as problems urinating, they might be mild and happen over many years.  For some men, the first noticeable symptoms are from prostate cancer which has spread to their bones. If this happens, you might notice pain in your back, hips or pelvis that was not there before. These symptoms could be caused by other problems such as general aches and pains or arthritis, but it is still a good idea to get them checked out by your GP if you are worried.  Most men with early prostate cancer do not have any symptoms.

What treatments are there for prostate cancer? 
There are several treatments available for prostate cancer. Some treatments aim to get rid of the cancer completely, others to control the cancer. The stage of cancer and each man’s preferences will affect which treatment they decide to have. If a man has slow growing cancer that is not likely to cause any problems in their lifetime, they might be able to delay treatment or avoid treatment altogether.  

If you are experiencing any of these following symptoms, they could be signs of a prostate issue.  Please schedule an appointment through our offices here at Southern California Urology Institute.
  • frequent urge to urinate
  • Need to get up many times during the night to urinate
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Not being able to urinate
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs
  • Dribbling of urine

You can contact the offices of Gary C. Bellman at the following locations:

23101 Sherman Place, Suite 304
West Hills, CA 91307
818.912.9500

375 Rolling Oaks Drive Suite 115
Thousand Oaks, Ca 91361
805.200.4141



For an appointment or consultation with Dr. Gary Bellman,
please contact the office or call 818-912-1899




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