There are three distinct types of disease of the prostate gland. These diseases share many symptoms, but have different causes. This makes it very important to include prostate cancer screenings as a component of the annual physical examination and to be referred to a urologist if symptoms indicative of possible prostate disease are identified. In addition to the information and resources provided within this website, we encourage you to review the information included in the NIH publication What I Need to Know About Prostate Problems.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland that affects approximately 50% of all men before the age of 50 and greater than 75% percent of men over the age of 60. Symptoms include difficulties associated with urinating, an urge to urinate even when the bladder is empty (urgency), frequent urination, especially at night, and a weak or intermittent stream or a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder and/or dribbling of urine. Additional information on BPH is accessible through the Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia link.
Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate that may be caused by a bacterial infection. This disease may affect men of any age and can occur in any prostate whether small or enlarged. Symptoms of prostatitis are similar to those caused by an enlarged prostate and include urge frequency with difficulty in emptying the bladder. Prostatitis may be indicated by chills, fever and by pain or burning during urination.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men. However early detection often leads to the effective treatment of prostate cancer. In the majority of cases, prostate cancer will be detected while it is still localized, rather than metastasized (spread). When prostate cancer is detected early and treated, the five-year outcome is generally very successful. The prostate cancer screening process is critical in early detection.
Prostate cancer symptoms include difficulty with beginning urination, a frequent need to urinate , primarily at night; the inability to urinate; weak or sporadic urine flow; painful or a burning sensation during urination; painful ejaculation; blood in the urine or semen; and pain in the back, hips or located in the extremities.
It is recommended that males age 50 and greater be screened annually. Those with a family history of prostate cancer or those identified as African American, should begin annual screenings at age 40, as research data indicates race and genetics are factors in the development of this cancer.