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 increased growth 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.
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 cases 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.
- 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.
as these can make you need to pass urine more often.
We don't know exactly what causes prostate cancer. A lot of research is looking at ways to predict which men may be at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer. We do know some of the factors that will increase this risk. There is more detailed information about risk factors in the prostate cancer section. But if your symptoms don't improve you need to go back to your doctor and let them know.
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