When prostate cancer is discovered in its early stages, the prognosis is very favorable. It is a relatively common disease, and its symptoms can sometimes mimic other, less serious conditions. It is important to get a prompt diagnosis, and if you are not satisfied with your initial consultation, seek a prostate specialist second opinion. Here are three benign conditions that may share the same symptoms as prostate cancer:
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy
Benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH, refers to an enlargement of the prostate gland. It is common in older men, and it either causes symptoms or is asymptomatic, depending upon the extent of the enlargement.
When symptoms are present, they can be similar to those of prostate cancer and may include straining during urination, a weak urine stream, feeling as though you haven't completely emptied your bladder, and pain or pressure in your lower pelvic area. BPH is not considered a serious medical condition, but your doctor will want to monitor your prostate periodically to check for further growth.
If you have a prostate infection, you may also experience symptoms that are similar to prostate cancer. Not only do certain prostate infections cause inflammation of the prostate gland, but they can also lead to inflammation of the surrounding structures of the gland as well as the urethra.
A prostate infection can cause pain, problems emptying your bladder, blood in the urine, and sometimes, dribbling of urine. If you have a prostate infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Once the infection has cleared, your symptoms will resolve as well. If your symptoms persist despite completing a full course of antibiotics, see your healthcare provider right away.
Medication Side Effects
Certain medications can affect the prostate gland, causing urinary retention, a weak urine stream, or difficulty starting or stopping urination. Some of the drugs that can lead to side effects that mimic prostate cancer include antihistamines, diuretic, or water pills, psychotropic medications such as anti-anxiety drugs, and even certain anti-inflammatories.
If your symptoms fail to clear up after discontinuing the medication, your doctor may recommend that you have a digital prostate exam as well as a blood test that can help detect an elevation in certain antigens.
When these prostate-specific antigens are abnormally high, you may need a biopsy to rule out the presence of prostate cancer. It is important to note, however, that prostate-specific antigens can rise with other conditions such as benign prostatic hypertrophy.
If you experience a weak urine stream, urinary retention, blood in your urine, or if you urinate excessively, see your doctor to rule out prostate cancer. The sooner it is recognized and treated, the more likely you are to enjoy a very favorable prognosis. Contact a medical office like Advanced Urology Associates for more information and assistance.