BPH vs. Prostate Cancer
What is BPH?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH is commonly known as an enlarged prostate. The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located inside the groin, and it grows larger as men get older. An enlarged prostate, or BPH, can affect the flow of urine as the prostate presses against the urethra (the tube from which urine leaves the body). BPH affects 50% of men by age 60 and 90% of men by age 85.1
Does Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Lead to Cancer?
BPH is not cancer. Having an enlarged prostate does not mean that you are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Nor does BPH spread to other parts of the body like cancer. It can be confusing to differentiate between the two, because BPH and prostate cancer have some similar symptoms and both lead to prostate growth. A few common symptoms between BPH and prostate cancer include:2-4
- Weak urine flow
- Difficulty starting and stopping
If you’ve noticed symptoms like these, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor. Doctors use a variety of tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. One metric is the International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS), which assesses the severity of BPH symptoms. If you’re experiencing potential BPH symptoms, you can check your IPSS score with this quiz and share the results with your doctor. Another measurement to diagnose your symptoms is your PSA levels.
PSA levels in BPH and Prostate Cancer
Tissues in the prostate make a protein called Prostate-Specific Antigen, or PSA. Your doctor may recommend a PSA blood test. It identifies high levels of PSA that can be caused by prostate cancer or BPH. This test is usually done to look for early signs of prostate cancer. However, since both BPH and prostate cancer increase PSA levels, a PSA test alone may not be enough to determine whether you have prostate cancer.5 A prostate biopsy is another important test used to diagnose prostate cancer. You can also look for other symptoms, like blood in your urine, that are more common in prostate cancer than BPH.
To get a better understanding of prostate cancer screening and the PSA test, read this article and speak with your doctor.
How to Treat BPH
If you have BPH, your doctor may recommend one of several treatment options depending on the severity of your symptoms, such as:3,6,7
- Watchful waiting if you have mild symptoms, or until your symptoms become more severe.
- Medications like alpha blockers, 5-alpha reductase inhibitors, or combination drug therapy for mild to moderate symptoms.
- Minimally invasive treatments, such as Rezūm™ Water Vapor Therapy, for moderate to severe symptoms.
- Surgery, such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) or a prostatectomy, for severe symptoms.
If you’re wondering, “Will I be able to get back to my favorite activities without taking frequent bathroom breaks?” The answer is “Yes, you can Rezūm your life!”
Rezūm™ Water Vapor Therapy, a minimally invasive treatment for BPH, shrinks an enlarged prostate using the natural energy stored in water vapor – treating the cause of your BPH. Get back to your regular activities. Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks associated with all treatment options, or find a doctor near you to learn more.
For risks associated with Rezūm Water Vapor Therapy, click here or speak with your doctor.
- Barry M, Roehrborn C. Management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Ann Rev Med. 1997 Feb;48:77-189.
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/brady-urology-institute/conditions_and_treatments/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia-bph.html. Last accessed July 5, 2021.
- Benign Prostatic Enlargement/Hyperplasia (BPE/BPH). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9100-benign-prostatic-enlargement-bph. Last accessed July 5, 2021.
- Prostate Cancer. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prostate-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20353087. Last accessed July 15, 2021.
- PSA test. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/psa-test/about/pac-20384731. Last accessed July 5, 2021.
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia – Diagnosis and Treatment. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370093. Last accessed July 5, 2021.
- Finasteride (Oral Route). May Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/finasteride-oral-route/precautions/drg-20063819?p=1. Last accessed date July 5, 2021.
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