What is benign prostatic hyperplasia?
When delving into the realm of understanding the disparities between prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), it’s crucial to decipher the intricate nuances that set them apart.
Firstly, let’s shed some light on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that shares the spotlight with prostate cancer as one of the most prevalent issues affecting the prostate gland, an integral component of the male reproductive system.
Situated just beneath the bladder, encircling the initial portion of the urinary canal (urethra), which serves as the conduit for urine expulsion, the prostate gland assumes the form of a chestnut. Its secretion contributes to seminal fluid, a vital component of the male reproductive process. In the prime of youth, the prostate typically resembles a walnut, but it tends to grow larger with advancing age, aligning with the escalating risk of prostate-related afflictions.
However, it’s essential to emphasize that benign prostatic hyperplasia does not pave the path to prostate cancer. Although it’s plausible for both conditions to coexist, one doesn’t give rise to the other.
Now, let’s explore the common factors and triggers that overlap between benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer.
The term “benign” in benign prostatic hyperplasia signifies that the condition is non-malignant or cancerous. “Hyperplasia” denotes an increase in the number of cells, which, crucially, aren’t cancerous. Benign prostatic hyperplasia, often abbreviated as BPH, is also recognized as an enlarged prostate.
The precise cause of prostate enlargement remains somewhat enigmatic, but aging appears to be a contributing factor. Testosterone, the primary male hormone, naturally diminishes with age. Simultaneously, lesser quantities of dihydrotestosterone and estrogen are generated. Some researchers posit that the decline in testosterone levels prompts an elevated proportion of estrogen and DHT in males, thereby fostering the growth of prostate cells.
Age also emerges as the foremost risk factor for benign prostatic hyperplasia. The condition seldom manifests before the age of 40, and it afflicts roughly half of men between 51 and 60, with the prevalence climbing to nearly 90% among those aged over 80. Additionally, family history, overall health, including conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular ailments, and lifestyle choices, such as obesity and sedentary habits, play pivotal roles in susceptibility to BPH.
Turning our attention to prostate cancer, its emergence is underpinned by aberrations in the DNA of prostate cells, instigating uncontrolled cell growth. The exact triggers of these genetic changes remain elusive.
Just like benign prostatic hyperplasia, aging constitutes the most significant risk factor for prostate cancer. Men above 50 find themselves in the highest risk bracket, with about 13 out of every 100 men confronting prostate cancer in their lifetimes. Family history also looms large as a risk factor, with individuals having close relatives with prostate cancer, like fathers or brothers, being at elevated risk. Dietary choices, particularly a high-fat diet, have been associated with increased prostate cancer risk.
Now, let’s explore the common symptoms that can manifest in both BPH and prostate cancer. These shared symptoms encompass:
- Frequent or urgent urges to urinate, especially during the night (nocturia).
- Difficulty initiating and sustaining urination.
- Weak, slow, or intermittent urine stream during urination.
- Discomfort during urination or ejaculation.
Distinctive symptoms specific to benign prostatic hyperplasia include:
- Post-urination urine dribbling.
- Unusual urine odor or color.
- A lingering sensation of incomplete bladder emptying after urination.
- Straining while urinating.
On the other hand, unique symptoms associated with prostate cancer encompass:
- Burning sensation during urination.
- Presence of blood in the urine or semen.
- Persistent pain in the pelvis, hips, back, or bones.
Understanding these distinctions and commonalities between benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer is pivotal for individuals to navigate their health and make informed decisions.