Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, yet many men fail to identify prostate cancer in its early stages. However, men who know the symptoms of prostate cancer may be better equipped than others to identify the disease and prevent it from spreading throughout the body.

There are many warning signs of prostate cancer in men. Common prostate cancer warning signs include:

  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Slow or weak urinary stream
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Rectum pain or pressure
  • Pain in the back, chest or hips
  • Numbness or weakness in the feet or legs

If a man experiences one or more of the aforementioned symptoms, it is important to consult with an expert urologist right away. That way, a man can receive a proper prostate cancer diagnosis and determine the best treatment option.

How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

Prostate cancer screening is essential. Because the earlier a man identifies prostate cancer, the sooner he can treat this issue.

A urologist performs several tests to analyze a patient and provide an accurate prostate cancer diagnosis. These tests include:

  • Physical Exam: A urologist conducts a physical exam to learn about a patient’s current health. During a physical exam, a urologist also reviews a patient’s medical history and learns about a patient’s symptoms.
  • Digital Rectal Exam (DRE): A urologist uses a DRE to identify prostate cancer. To perform a DRE, a urologist inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum, and he or she feels for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate. A DRE often helps a urologist determine if cancer is present on one or both sides of the prostate. If cancer is present on both sides of the prostate, this indicates the cancer likely has spread to nearby tissue.
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test: A urologist performs a PSA blood test primarily to screen for prostate cancer in men who display no symptoms. If prostate cancer develops, a man’s PSA level usually rises above 4. Men who have a PSA level between 4 and 10 have about a 25% chance of having prostate cancer, and the risk of having prostate cancer rises to 50% in men who have a PSA level that exceeds 10, the American Cancer Society (ACS) notes. On the other hand, men who have a PSA level below 4 may still have or develop prostate cancer.
  • Transrectual Ultrasound (TRUS): A urologist uses a TRUS to examine the prostate of a man who has a high PSA level or an abnormal DRE result. During a TRUS, a small probe that is approximately the width of a finger is lubricated and inserted into the rectum. Next, the probe produces sound waves that enter the prostate and create echoes. The probe detects the echoes, and a computer uses the echoes to produce a black and white image of the prostate.
  • Prostate Biopsy: A urologist typically performs a prostate biopsy if a PSA blood test or DRE indicates a man may have prostate cancer. During a prostate biopsy, a urologist removes small samples of a patient’s prostate and examines them under a microscope.

After comprehensive testing is completed, a urologist uses the Gleason system to assign a score to a patient’s prostate cancer. If prostate cancer has a Gleason score of 6 or less, it is considered well-differentiated or low-grade. Comparatively, prostate cancer with a Gleason score of 7 is moderately differentiated or intermediate-grade. Or, if prostate cancer has a Gleason score of 8 to 10, it is poorly differentiated or high-grade.

A patient’s Gleason score may dictate a urologist’s treatment recommendations. As such, a urologist allocates significant time and resources to perform in-depth testing and determine the correct Gleason score. He or she then offers personalized prostate cancer treatment recommendations.

How Is Prostate Cancer Treated?

There are many safe, effective prostate cancer treatments. These include:

  • Active Surveillance: Involves monitoring prostate cancer closely. During active surveillance, a patient may receive a PSA blood test and DRE every six months, as well as an annual prostate biopsy.
  • Surgery: Involves the removal of the entire prostate gland and surrounding tissue (radical prostatectomy).
  • Radiation Therapy: Involves the use of high-energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells.
  • Cryotherapy: Involves the use of cold temperatures to freeze and eliminate prostate cancer cells.
  • Hormone Therapy: Involves reducing the number of male hormones (androgens) in the body or trying to stop these hormones from causing prostate cancer cells to grow.
  • Chemotherapy: Involves the use of anti-cancer drugs that are injected into a vein or given by mouth; chemotherapy drugs enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body.
  • Vaccination: Involves the use of the Sipuleuchel-T (Provenge) vaccine to boost the immune system and help it destroy prostate cancer cells.
  • Bone-Directed Treatment: Involves the use of bisphosphonates and other drugs to address cancer that has spread to the bone (bone metastasis) and related problems.

A urologist requests a full patient evaluation before offering a prostate cancer treatment recommendation. He or she is also happy to respond to a patient’s prostate cancer treatment concerns and questions and help this individual make an informed decision.

Is Prostate Cancer Preventable?

Prostate cancer is not preventable, and it can affect any man, at any time. Fortunately, men who identify prostate cancer early may be able to overcome this issue faster than others, which is reflected in recent ACS data.

ACS reports four out of five prostate cancers are found during the local stage, i.e. when the cancer is located exclusively in the prostate. Meanwhile, the relative five-year survival rate of patients with local prostate stage cancer is nearly 100%. Conversely, the relative five-year survival rate of patients with distant stage prostate cancer, i.e. prostate cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, bones or other organs, is roughly 29%.

For those who believe they may be dealing with prostate cancer, it is always better to err on the side of caution. By meeting with a urologist, a man can receive a prostate cancer diagnosis. And if prostate cancer is discovered, there is no need to worry. A patient and urologist can work together to treat prostate cancer and prevent this issue from recurring.

Choose La Peer Health Systems for Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men, and approximately one in 41 men die from prostate cancer, ACS indicates. Yet most men who receive a prostate cancer diagnose can successfully treat the disease. In fact, ACS points out more than 2.9 million men have received a prostate cancer diagnosis and are still alive today.

Ultimately, prostate cancer is a serious disease, but it is treatable. If a man detects prostate cancer in its early stages, he can often address the cancer before it spreads throughout the body. Thus, if a man is concerned about prostate cancer, it is paramount to schedule a urological consultation as soon as possible.

When it comes to prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, there may be no better option than the Department of Urology at La Peer Health Systems. Our team of courteous, highly trained urologists works with patients to perform clinical and research testing. We also strive to provide a prostate cancer treatment that is minimally invasive and delivers proven results. To schedule a prostate cancer screening with our team of expert urologists, please contact us today at 855.360.9119.

How to Prepare for Your Colonoscopy

Colonoscopy preparation requires a patient to empty the colon. Otherwise, residue in the colon may obscure a doctor’s view of the colon and rectum during the exam.

A doctor provides a patient with detailed colonoscopy preparation instructions. In some instances, a doctor may offer one or more of the following recommendations to ensure a patient can empty the colon prior to a colonoscopy:

  • Follow a special diet. A doctor may request a patient stick to a diet of clean foods for at least three to four days before a colonoscopy. These foods include seedless fruits, lean meats, eggs, white bread and pasta; all of these foods are rich in fiber and help cleanse the colon. Additionally, a patient is unable to eat solid foods the day before a colonoscopy. A patient can drink liquids like coffee, tea and water at this time. Also, a patient likely won’t be able to drink any liquids after midnight the night prior to the exam.
  • Take a laxative. A laxative helps loosen stools, increase bowel movements and empty the colon. It may be taken as a pill or liquid. Oftentimes, a doctor requests a patient take a laxative the night before a colonoscopy or as a split-dose both the night before and the morning of the exam.
  • Utilize an enema kit. An enema helps cleanse the colon and alleviate constipation. Enema kits are available that make it easy to take an enema at home. In certain cases, a doctor recommends a patient use an enema kit the night before a colonoscopy or at least a few hours prior to the procedure.
  • Modify your medications. Some medications may require a patient to temporarily adjust his or her dosages or stop taking the medications in the days leading up to a colonoscopy. These medications include high blood pressure or diabetes medications, supplements that contain iron or aspirin that thins the blood.

Preparing for a colonoscopy may seem challenging at first, but a doctor can provide patient guidance and support in the days before a colonoscopy. And if a patient has any concerns or questions about colonoscopy preparation, a doctor is ready to respond to them.

Colonoscopy Preparation Tips

 There are many things that a patient can do to streamline the process of preparing for a colonoscopy. These include:

  1. Make a Plan

 A doctor may provide lots of information prior to a colonoscopy, and the sheer volume of colonoscopy preparation information may be overwhelming. However, a patient who takes the time to review a doctor’s colonoscopy preparation instructions can address any concerns or questions right away. Best of all, this patient can make a plan to follow a doctor’s instructions and increase the likelihood of a successful colonoscopy.

  1. Get Ready for a Laxative

 The mere thought of taking a laxative before a colonoscopy may cause stress, but there are many things that a patient can do to prepare for a laxative. If a patient is required to take a liquid laxative, it often helps to mix the laxative with a sports drink or other flavored beverages; that way, a patient can reduce or eliminate the unpleasant taste associated with a laxative.

It also is important to remember that once a laxative starts working, a patient may experience frequent diarrhea, cramps and bloating. Thus, a patient will want to do everything possible to stay comfortable in the bathroom at this time. Applying diaper cream before diarrhea begins may help alleviate pain and discomfort. Keeping moist or medicated wipes on hand enables a patient to clean himself or herself as needed. And if a patient keeps reading material in the bathroom, he or she can stay entertained until a laxative’s effects subside.

  1. Focus on the End Results

 The final hours prior to a colonoscopy can be tough, even for a patient who considers himself or herself to be a strong, resilient individual. When the going gets tough, it is important to remember why a patient is choosing to undergo a colonoscopy in the first place.

A colonoscopy allows an individual to identify colon cancer and other intestinal issues. It enables a patient to visualize ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, inflammation and bleeding in the large intestine and the distal part of the small bowel. If a doctor finds any growths during a colonoscopy, he or she can work with a patient to determine the best-possible treatment.

Reasons to Schedule a Colonoscopy

A man or woman can undergo a colonoscopy to detect colorectal cancer, i.e. cancer that starts at the colon or rectum, in its early stages. By doing so, a patient may be able to identify colorectal cancer before it spreads throughout the body.

American Cancer Society (ACS) notes colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in men and women in the United States. Furthermore, an estimated 97,220 new cases of colon cancer and 43,030 new cases of rectal cancer will be diagnosed this year, according to ACS.

Colorectal cancer is problematic, but it is treatable. ACS points out the death rate from colorectal cancer in men and women in the United States has been declining for several decades. In fact, there are currently more than 1 million colorectal cancer survivors in the United States, and this number may continue to rise thanks in part to colonoscopies.

Ultimately, a colonoscopy offers a great opportunity for a man or women to track colorectal cancer and intestinal problems before they escalate. The procedure allows a doctor to explore potential causes of abdominal pain, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Plus, a colonoscopy is generally a safe, effective procedure with minimal risk.

A doctor may recommend a colonoscopy every 10 years for men and women 50 years of age and older. The risk of colon cancer and related problems is higher in African Americans than others, and as such, a doctor may recommend an African American man or woman undergo regular colon cancer screenings starting at the age of 45. If an individual has a family history of colon cancer or similar issues, he or she also may benefit from regular colonoscopies starting at age 45.

Schedule a Colonoscopy with La Peer Health Systems Today

A colonoscopy can make a world of difference, yet preparing for a colon cancer screening sometimes is difficult. Fortunately, La Peer Health Systems is happy to help men and women get ready for colonoscopies. Our gastroenterology department employs friendly, knowledgeable surgeons who can provide comprehensive insights into colonoscopies and colonoscopy preparation. As a result, we will guide you through all aspects of a colonoscopy and ensure you are prepared for this procedure. To find out more about our colonoscopies and other GI procedures, please contact us today at 855.360.9119.