The prostate and urinary health can be confusing. For many men, understanding the nuances between benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer is a source of that confusion.
At Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, our board-certified urology providers are dedicated to helping you learn about urinary health. If you’ve ever wondered about these conditions, keep reading as we explore BPH and prostate cancer, along with the symptoms, treatments, and how to tell them apart.
All about BPH
Benign prostate hyperplasia involves the non-cancerous enlargement of your prostate gland. The condition is primarily associated with aging and affects many men as they age. Symptoms of BPH may include:
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Difficulty starting urination
- Slow or weak urinary stream
- The need to strain while urinating
- Inability to completely empty the bladder
These symptoms can make daily life challenging. The good news is that treatments are available to help ease your symptoms and restore your quality of life, including:
- Medications to relax or shrink the prostate
- Minimally invasive procedures
- Surgery in severe cases
These treatments reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Our team works with you to determine the best treatment for your unique situation.
All about prostate cancer
Unlike BPH, prostate cancer involves the growth of malignant (cancerous) cells within your prostate gland. It's the second most common cancer in men, making early detection and treatment crucial.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can include:
- Trouble urinating
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in semen
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Erectile dysfunction
As with BPH, the symptoms affect your quality of life. And as the cancer grows, it can affect your overall health — even your longevity.
Fortunately, effective prostate cancer therapies exist. They vary based on its progression and might include:
- Active surveillance for low-risk cancers
- Radiation therapy
- Hormone therapy
- Surgery to remove the prostate
- Chemotherapy in advanced cases
At Urological Associates, we tailor each treatment to the individual, considering the stage of the cancer and your overall health.
Telling the difference between BPH and prostate cancer
Clearly, BPH and prostate cancer share similar symptoms, which might raise the question: How do I tell them apart?
A specialist at Urological Associates can help differentiate between the two. Diagnostic tests, like digital rectal exams or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, are essential tools in diagnosis.
It's crucial to see our team if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. Not every symptom guarantees the presence of BPH or prostate cancer, but it's always safer to be evaluated.
By understanding and recognizing these conditions, you take an active role in your prostate health. If you’re ever in doubt about your prostate health, remember that you're not alone. Urological Associates is here to guide and support you.
If you’re concerned about BPH or prostate cancer, don’t wait to schedule an appointment online or over the phone with a provider at Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia.