Can an enlarged prostate turn into cancer? | Cancer Research UK
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Can an enlarged prostate turn into cancer?

I've had a TURP for benign prostate disease (BPH) and am worried that I may have prostate cancer because the symptoms haven't gone away. Does BPH increase prostate cancer risk?

Most men over 50 years of age will have an enlarged prostate at some time in their lives. This means there is an overgrowth of tissue in the prostate gland. Doctors call it benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. In benign prostate disease, the cells are normal prostate gland cells and are not cancerous.

It is possible for men with BPH to go on to develop prostate cancer as well. But there is no clear evidence to suggest that having BPH leads to, or increases, the risk of prostate cancer.

TURP stands for trans urethral resection of the prostate. It is the operation most often done to help relieve the symptoms of BPH. There is information about TURP in the prostate cancer section.

The symptoms of BPH happen because the enlarged gland presses on the bladder and the tube leading from it (the urethra). This partially blocks the flow of urine. The most common symptoms include

  • Needing to pass urine more often, particularly having to get up in the night
  • Not being able to control the flow of urine
  • Feeling that the bladder is not empty after you've passed water

During the TURP operation the surgeon removes part of the prostate gland that is surrounding the urethra. In 9 out of 10 men this operation eases the symptoms. But it can take several weeks for things to settle down and some patients may have BPH symptoms for some time afterwards. A small number of men will need to have a second TURP.

There are some things you can do yourself to help. Pelvic floor exercises might help by strengthening the muscles of the pelvis.

Consider avoiding things that can make you need to pass urine more often, such as

  • Too many drinks that contain caffeine
  • Drinking more than the recommended daily intake of alcohol (2 or 3 units per day)
  • Drinking in the evening before bedtime
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Updated: 17 March 2014