Little Rock, Ark. (KTHV) --- Prostate gland diseases affect a large number of men. However, many may not know what the prostate actually does.
According to one online report, the longer men live, the likelihood their prostate will enlarge, enhancing their risk for getting a prostate cancer diagnosis. That's why detection and early screenings are important.
The prostate is an internal male organ that produces the fluid that is combined with sperm to make semen. Examples of prostate conditions include prostatitis, prostate cancer and benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH.
According to UAMS Urologic Oncologist Dr. Matthew Katz, BPH is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. This occurs when healthy prostate cells multiply, and usually occurs in the center of the gland, compressing the urethra and leading to difficulty in urination. The new cells tend to have more muscle and fibrous tissue in proportion to healthy prostate cells.
Prostatitis is a class of prostate conditions all associated with inflammation of the prostate. Sometimes, the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection. Much of the time, however, the cause of prostatits is not known and the condition is often hard to treat. According to one online report, prostatitis most often occurs in men 25-45 years of age, and is a common urological diagnosis in this population.
Prostate cancer, is the most common cancer in U.S. men, and the second cause of cancer deaths in men. Dr. Katz says late diagnosis and treatment can be the main culprit. Dr. Katz says radiation therapy that helps in shrinking or killing the tumors.
The PSA blood test has come under scrutiny. Recent reports have suggested that it isn't beneficial and leads to risky, unecessary treatment.
The PSA test, measures a protein released by prostate cells, to make sure it does what it is supposed to do and indicates a cancer might be present. Dr. Katz cites two important studies involving the test. One was done in Europe, the other in the U.S.
In the European study, 48 men were told they had prostate cancer and were needlessly treated for it.
The American study, found no reduction in deaths from prostate cancer after most of the men had been followed for 10 years. By seven years, the death rate was 13 percent lower for the unscreened group.