Though I’m happy to report that we have much to celebrate as we look at where prostate disease research is today, there are some steps I would advise every man take to protect his health.
One major facet of men’s health is prostate health. The prostate is a muscular gland in the male reproductive system. It surrounds a portion of the bladder and urethra. Today, 1 in every 6 men will experience urinary problems caused by benign (“natural”) prostate gland enlargement, also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy or benign prostatic hyperplasia. What happens? The cells in the prostate gland multiply causing the gland to swell. This squeezes the urethra and limits the flow of urine.
Symptoms include a slow urine stream or a start and stop stream as well as urine frequency, urgency to go to the bathroom, and inability to urinate. Medical interventions include pharmaceutical and herbal remedies. In some cases, surgery may be required and there are many minimally invasive treatments available.
Take charge of your health: Talk to your primary care doctor or urologist if you experience any of the symptoms I just mentioned.
The good news: The number of men dying from Prostate Cancer has decreased by 40 percent since 1990! This is incredible news for any man. The bad news: there still are approximately 290,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year in the United States. In fact, more than 500 men are diagnosed and approximately 60 men die of prostate cancer in Vermont every year.
Take charge of your health: The United States Preventive Services Task Force has emphasized that doing just a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test is not recommended for the detection of prostate cancer. Instead, a combination of factors assessed together (genetics/family history, Prostate Health Index (a newly released blood test that is a combination of PSA tests and calculations), and some brand new experimental blood tests to identify men at risk and help find significant Prostate Cancer at an early curable stage. Talk to your doctor about screening and detection.
The Future of Prostate Health
The MAPS grant stands for Modern Approach to Prostate Cancer Screening. This grant’s principle investigators are family practitionner Allison Landrey, MD, and Radiation Oncologist H. James Wallace, MD, of the UVM Medical Center.
The purpose of this study is to see if a personal genetic risk assessment and multifactorial primary care-based prostate cancer Screening program can identify afflicted men who have clinically significant prostate cancer while decreasing unnecessary prostate biopsies and emotional stress.
Scott D. Perrapato, DO, FACOS, is a urologist and urologic oncologist at the UVM Medical Center and an associate professor at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM.