“There is a growing awareness of the importance of self-care and early diagnosis”

Friday, September 15, 2023 02:00

The purpose of celebrating European Prostate Health Day is to remember and raise awareness about diseases affecting the prostate and the need to see a urologist before developing symptoms related to any chronic pathology or conditions that require urgent intervention.

Together with Dr. Antonio Blanco Díez, HPS Urology Specialist, Fellow in Urological Laparoscopy (Bordeaux), and Dr. Diana Mejía, HPS Urology Specialist, Master in Clinical Nutrition, we will explore how to prevent the most common problems related to: Prostate

-What is the prostate?

-The prostate is a chestnut-sized male reproductive gland located around the urethra at the outlet of the bladder. Its basic function is to facilitate the fluidity of semen during ejaculation.

– What symptoms may indicate a problem with the prostate?

-Often the symptoms produced by this gland result from its growth. By surrounding the urethra, it can cause pressure on the urethra and difficulty urinating, which are known as lower urinary tract symptoms.

Sometimes it becomes infected (prostatitis) and causes fever, pain in the perineal area (the area between the testicles and anus), and difficulty urinating.

Finally, prostate cancer does not cause symptoms until it is very advanced, which is why we place such an emphasis on early diagnosis.

– What are the main diseases affecting the prostate?

-In order of frequency, the first condition (not a disease) is a benign growth of the prostate, called benign prostatic hyperplasia, which produces obstructive symptoms.

Prostatitis, including acute, infectious and chronic, is more of a chronic pelvic pain that affects and may worsen the patient’s quality of life.

The least common is cancer. However, it is the most common urinary tract tumor in men and the third leading cause of cancer death.

«The first urinary examination is recommended between the ages of 45 and 50, or at age 40 if a first-degree relative has prostate cancer»

-Why are men sometimes reluctant to see a urologist?

– Fortunately, the situation is improving, as primary care campaigns make men increasingly aware of self-care. Until a few years ago, this seemed to only apply to women diagnosed early with breast and cervical cancer.

– What types of tests are performed during urological examination and at what age is it recommended to start examining the prostate?

– Different medical societies recommend an initial urological examination between the ages of 45-50 years. If a first-degree relative is diagnosed with prostate cancer, treatment should begin at age 40.

It should begin with a clinical and family history, a physical examination of the external genitalia, and a digital rectal examination, in which a finger is used to explore the prostate through the rectum. The latter is what generates the most rejections, but for most men it should be a quick and painless exam, even if it’s not pleasant. Likewise, general blood and urine analysis are essential, including PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, which helps us diagnose cancer early. Finally, an ultrasound of the bladder, prostate, and kidneys should be performed during the urologist consultation.

-Not all prostate diseases lead to serious illness, right?

– Any of the three conditions mentioned above, if left untreated, can have a negative impact on the patient’s life.

For example, if benign prostatic hyperplasia is not diagnosed and treated with medication or surgery, it can lead to kidney failure and cause the patient to undergo dialysis. Regarding acute infectious prostatitis, we rarely see it, but it can produce a very serious infection (sepsis) in the body. Chronic pelvic pain can lead to significant disability and even psychological problems. Prostate cancer ranges from cancer problems such as pain and worsening symptoms throughout the body, to metastases to bones and organs, and ultimately death.

– What are the treatments for benign prostatic hyperplasia?

-Individualized management of entities associated with aging and subsequent prostate growth is very important, as each patient has his or her own situation, age and associated medical issues.

It can be treated with medications or surgical techniques such as bipolar resection, laparoscopic surgery, or robotic surgery for large prostates. Over the years, minimally invasive techniques have been developed with fewer side effects and confident results, such as green laser, holmium laser enucleation, and Rezum or water vapor therapy, which provide excellent results without the need for hospitalization. and perform a 10-minute treatment.

– How important is it to raise awareness about the importance of seeing a specialist to prevent prostate problems?

-We adhere to the idea that we must emphasize the importance of annual prostate exams for prevention, but also emphasize that there is no taboo or fear in the habit of going to the urologist’s office to check for any clinical manifestations that men notice, from symptoms to urination, Penis discomfort, scrotum, testicular growth, etc…

Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial because then, if patients are aware of taking care of themselves, we can help and avoid major illnesses and even life-threatening problems.

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