A Few Thoughts on Prostatitis
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland which can cause symptoms such as urinary frequency, pain with urination, elevated PSA, and pelvic pain. While symptomatic prostatitis can have a huge …
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Most men over age 40 are already host to some type of prostate cancer but don’t know it.
Autopsy studies of men dying from unrelated causes show that the likelihood of harboring prostate cancer is the same as putting a percentage sign after his age. Over a million men undergo a prostate biopsy every year. Approximately 200,000 are diagnosed with cancer. Of these 200,000, more than 100,000 are diagnosed with a “latent” type of prostate cancer, a form of the disease that is not life-threatening and will never require treatment.
Prostate cancer is confusing because of the variety of different forms (see home page). The fact that some types of prostate cancer remain dormant for a lifetime is unique compared to other cancers. Unfortunately, society in general, including many primary care physicians, is uninformed about this latent type of prostate cancer. Patients are unaware that latent prostate cancer can be safely observed without immediate treatment. So when a biopsy discloses prostate cancer, an emotional chain reaction occurs. The word CANCER triggers powerful feelings and a rush to aggressive treatment. The strength of the emotional reaction has such a blinding effect that many people fail to realize that treatment was unnecessary until after the damage. In men with the latent form of prostate cancer, common treatments like surgery, radiation and hormonal therapy destroy quality-of-life without prolonging it.
While latent prostate cancer is incredibly common, aggressive prostate cancer is also a reality– 30,000 men die from prostate cancer every year. Therefore, precautions like annual PSA testing and digital rectal examination are prudent. However, the information derived from PSA testing has to be used wisely. It’s dangerous to rush into a biopsy before all the ramifications of being diagnosed with latent prostate cancer has been thoroughly researched and comprehended. See the No Previous Biopsy section for information about the pros and cons of having a biopsy.