Prostate Health 101

By News, Prostate

Men’s health awareness is all about educating men on preventable health issues and the importance of talking to your doctor. This also involves reviewing some crucial facts about the prostate gland.

Only men have a prostate. This walnut-shaped gland is part of the male reproductive system. The prostate sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body.

The prostate’s main job is to help make fluid for semen to help protect and energize the sperm. Semen protects the sperm so it can fertilize the egg and form a new life. The seminal vesicles, found next to the prostate, also add fluid to semen.

The most common prostate health problems are non-cancerous enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia – BPH), inflammatory disease (prostatitis) and prostate cancer.

Men who have any problems when urinating should talk to their health care provider about their prostate health. Because of its location inside the pelvis, there are no self-exams for men to check their own prostate. Health care providers use two tests to check prostate health. They are the digital rectal examination (DRE) and a blood test called prostate-specific antigen (PSA).

African-Americans and men with a family history are at higher risk for prostate cancer. Men without these risk factors benefit most from screening for prostate cancer between the ages of 55 and 69.

What Happens During a Prostate Cancer Screening Examine?

The goal of prostate cancer screening is to look for early signs of prostate cancer, when treatment is most effective. The two tests most often used to screen for prostate cancer are the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test.

Because the prostate is an internal organ, your doctor cannot see it directly. But they can feel it by placing a gloved finger into the rectum (a DRE) to feel for any lumps or bumps (nodules).

The PSA is an easy blood test used to screen for problems of the prostate. It measures how much of the protein called PSA is in your blood. Having a raised PSA level does not mean you have prostate cancer. Other reasons, such as infections or an enlarged prostate can cause high PSA levels.

The choice to be screened for prostate cancer is a personal one. Before you decide to be tested, talk to your doctor about your risk for prostate cancer, including your personal and family history. Then talk about the benefits and risks of testing.

The Urology Hospital, the only specialised hospital of its kind anywhere in Africa, has been in existence for more than 20 years as a centre of excellence in its field.

With more than 20 urologists under one roof, it offers unparalleled expertise in urology using the latest in highly specialised technology as well as nursing staff specially trained in urology. The hospital specialises in the treatment of male, female and paediatric urological conditions, including prostate cancer, kidney stones, bladder control problems and pelvic floor. Other common procedures performed at the hospital include: circumcisions, vasectomies, prostatectomies, nephrectomies (removal of the kidney) and male infertility. The hospital maintains its association with the academic world to ensure ongoing research, medical education and training in the development of urology.

Have a question regarding treatment options?

We look forward to welcoming you for a consultation. Should you wish to see a consultant for a urological concern, please do not hesitate to contact our office on (012) 423 4000 or email urology@urology.co.za