YOU AND YOUR HEALTH: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR PROSTATE...




       

     It is surprising how little many men know about such an important part of their anatomy, The prostate is an important segment of the male reproductive system. It is a gland that is located in the lower abdominal cavity, just below the bladder, in front of the rectum and behind the pubic bone. It partially surrounds the urethra.  The urethra is the channel that carries urine to the penis from the bladder and it runs right through the prostate. 



       In addition prostate helps to control the flow of urine. A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut, weighs approximately 1 ounce and is shaped similar to a donut.Nearly every man will experience some type of prostate problem during his lifetime. Men who are over forty-five may experience an enlargement of the prostate.  While this is not a problem in itself, it is uncomfortable and can be a forerunner to other more serious maladies which we will discuss further.


      The Prostate Produces Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) The epithelial cells in the prostate gland produce a protein called PSA (prostate-specific antigen). The PSA helps keep the semen in its liquid state. Some of the PSA escapes into the bloodstream. We can measure a man's PSA levels by checking his blood. If a man's levels of PSA are high, it might be an indication of either prostate cancer or some kind of prostate condition.It is a myth to think that a high blood-PSA level is harmful to you - it is not. High blood PSA levels are however an indication that something may be wrong in the prostate.

    The prostate actually continues to grow throughout life, but grows very slowly after the age of twenty-five.   Enlargement of the prostate is part of the normal aging process due to hormonal changes and usually does
not become a serious problem until a man reaches sixty years of age.


* SYMPTOMS OF PROSTATE PROBLEMS
    Enlargement of the prostate is called benign prostate hypertrophy, or BPH.  While this growth is usually considered a nuisance, if a man experiences problems with burning, or Difficult urination at any time, the prudent course of action is consulting a urologist.


Other symptoms may be:
·    A feeling of having to push out urine
·    A sensation that the bladder is not emptying
·    Increased urinating, especially at night
·    Intermittent starting and stopping of the urinary stream.


   After a diagnosis of BPH, many men will just continue to live with the symptoms and subsequent discomfort.  It is not a life threatening condition, and there are treatments.  In some cases surgery might be
considered if the enlargement is significant. Ignoring BPH can be extremely dangerous and lead to other disease such as kidney infections or damage as the urine can back up into the kidneys because of the blockage of an enlarged prostate.  There can also be an occurrence of bladder infections.


     There is a huge difference between BPH and prostate cancer.  BPH is a normal part of aging.  Prostate cancer is a condition where prostate cells grow exponentially and out of control.  These cells create tumors that may spread to any part of the body.

  
Numerous health organizations report that 1 in 6 men will experience prostate cancer. However, if the condition is diagnosed early, approximately 99.3% of them will survive.The key is early detection.

* DIAGNOSTIC TESTING
   Another risk group is men who have a family history of prostate cancer, placing them in the same group who may contract the disease before the age of 50. The only method to determine whether you are at risk for prostate cancer is diagnostic testing.   The earlier you are screened the
higher your chances of survival.  Let”s explore some of the diagnostic options.


  - Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
Testing begins with a digital rectal exam (DRE).  This examination has been the benchmark for discovering cancer as well as BPH.  Your doctor can determine the condition and size of the prostate by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum. 


- Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA)In the mid-1980s’ the FDA approved the use of monitoring blood levels for prostate specific antigen (PSA).  At that time, this was considered a major breakthrough in the diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer. Here”s why.  PSA readings specifically target prostate cells.  A healthy prostate gland produces a constant level, usually 4 nanograms per milliliter which is considered as a PSA reading of “4” or less. Cancer cells produce growing amounts that escalate.  They correlate with the severity of cancer.   A PSA level greater than 4 will give the doctor some cause for investigation.  If the level reaches 10 he will have cause to consider the presence of prostate cancer.An amount over 50 may indicate that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.


    A PSA test usually measures the total amount that is attached to blood proteins. However, later research gained an FDA approval for a test called the Tandem R test. This test also gives a measure of the total
PSA and reads another component called free PSA.  Free PSA floats unbound in blood. Have these two tests to compare helps to rule out prostate cancer in men whose PSA is just mildly elevated due to other causes.  A 1995 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a free PSA test reduces unnecessary prostate biopsies by 20% in certain patients whose PSA is between 4 and 10.


    - Urine Test
A standard urine test can also help to diagnose prostate problems by screening for blood or infection.  The chemical tests will also check for liver, diabetes or kidney disease.Other Diagnostic methods include;


- Hyperplasia INTRAVENOUS PYELOGRAM (IVP)
- Bladder Ultrasound
- Prostate Ultrasound
- Uroflow 
- Radionuclide Bone Scan
- Cytoscopy 
- Computed Axial Tomography (CAT)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- The Gleason Score
- Pelvic Lymph Node Dissection........e.t.c 


   If you receive a diagnosis of cancer and different treatment options from your doctor, it would be prudent to get a second opinion.  This is a normal practice and one which can help you make intelligent decisions about the most important step you may take in your life.Getting that second opinion may confirm the diagnosis but help you to adjust the staging and your treatment options.  A second opinion may also lead you to a special clinical trial of new cancer treatments that your current physician is not aware of. Remember health is wealth, watch what you eat/drink.


 ~Chucks Victor Eze (CONQUEROR) is a 300 level student of Applied Biochemistry of Nnamdi Azikiwe University,Awka


   



3 comments:

  1. in addition, if you are a male and you are still young, make sure take Moringa seeds [it will help to keep your prostate in order].

    ReplyDelete
  2. for ladies, take folate [folic acid], meet medical experts please. let's bring infertility to an end...

    ReplyDelete

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