Though benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer cause similar symptoms, they are very different. Both can cause an enlarged prostate, but beyond causing common symptoms, the similarities end there.
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that sits below a man’s bladder. It makes the fluid part of semen. The prostate wraps around the urethra. This is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.
BPH is benign. This means it’s not cancer and it can’t spread. Prostate cancer can spread to other parts of your body.
Both BPH and prostate cancer are common. About 1 out of every 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 1 out of every 2 men in their 50s will have BPH.
What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, typically affecting older men. Prostate cancer occurs due to uncontrolled growth of prostate cancer cell. Doctors aren’t sure what exactly causes these cells to develop and grow, though.
Prostate cancer can affect any part of the prostate, but it is usually the lateral lobes, the sides of the prostate, that are affected. In advanced cases, prostate cancer can spread to the bones, but usually only travels to areas within the pelvis.
Common early symptoms of prostate cancer include increased urinary frequency, hesitancy, dribbling, and frequent nighttime urination.
What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia?
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is very common in men above the age of 40 and can cause the urinary tract to be obstructed.
Unlike prostate cancer, BPH is not cancerous nor is it fatal. As you age, your testosterone levels increase, which, in turn, causes your prostate to grow in size or become enlarged.
Whereas in prostate cancer, the sides of the prostate are usually affected, in BPH the central portion of the prostate is usually affected. Also, unlike cancer, BPH cannot spread.
The most common symptoms of BPH include urinary symptoms such as frequency of urination, hesitancy, dribbling, and frequent nighttime urination. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, treatment can range from nothing to medication to shrink the prostate, or surgery to remove the central part of the prostate to allow better flow of urine.
While BPH does not cause prostate cancer, nor do researchers think it is a risk factor. it is possible as well as common to have both at the same time.
What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer and BPH?
BPH and prostate cancer have similar symptoms, so it’s sometimes hard to tell the two conditions apart. As the prostate grows for any reason, it squeezes the urethra. This pressure prevents urine from getting down your urethra and out of your body. Prostate cancer symptoms often don’t start until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra.
Symptoms of both BPH and prostate cancer include:
- an urgent need to urinate
- feeling the urge to urinate many times during the day and night
- trouble starting to urinate or having to push to release urine
- weak or dribbling urine stream
- urine flow that stops and starts
- feeling like your bladder is never fully empty
If you have prostate cancer, you might also notice these symptoms:
- painful or burning urination
- blood in your urine
- trouble getting an erection
- painful ejaculation
- less fluid when you ejaculate
- blood in your semen
What Causes Each Condition?
A man’s prostate naturally grows as he gets older. Doctors don’t know the exact reason for this growth. Changing hormone levels might trigger it.
All cancer starts when cells start to multiply out of control. Cancer is caused by changes to DNA, the genetic material that controls cell growth. You can inherit DNA changes from your parents. Or these changes can develop during your lifetime.
What Are the Risk Factors?
You’re more likely to get BPH and prostate cancer as you age. Both conditions are rare in men under age 40.
A few other factors can increase your risk for BPH and prostate cancer, including:
- Your race: BPH and prostate cancer are more common in Africans.
- Your family history: Both of these conditions run in families. You’re more likely to get BPH or prostate cancer if a male relative has it. If your father or brother had prostate cancer, your risk of getting the disease more than doubles.
- Your weight: Being obese increases your risk for BPH. It’s not clear how weight influences prostate cancer, but research has shown a correlation between increased BMI and incidence of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Other risks for BPH include:
- Your other health conditions: Having diabetes or heart disease could make you more likely to get BPH.
- Your medicines: Blood pressure-lowering drugs called beta-blockers might affect your BPH risk.
Other risks for prostate cancer include:
- Your location: Men who live in North America and Western Europe are at higher risk than those in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. This may be due to low levels of vitamin D. Your skin produces this vitamin when it’s exposed to the sun.
- Environmental exposures: Firefighters work with chemicals that might increase their risk. Agent Orange, a weed killer used during the Vietnam War, has also been linked to prostate cancer.
- Your fitness: Exercise may reduce your risk for prostate cancer.
- Your diet: Food doesn’t seem to directly cause prostate cancer. Yet eating too few vegetables may lead to a more aggressive form of the disease.
How are BPH and Prostate Cancer Treated?
Which treatments you get for BPH depend on the size of your prostate and how severe your symptoms are.
For mild to moderate symptoms, your doctor might prescribe some medicines and for several BHP, surgeries are done.
Treatments for prostate cancer include watchful waiting, surgery, radiation therapy, cryotherapy (using intense cold to destroy prostate tissue) and hormone therapy (to inhibit the growth of male hormones).
What Are the Alternative Treatments for BPH and Prostate Cancer?
Most times, the only treatments for this disease are surgery and chemotherapy.
However, the success rate of these treatments is very low.
But here’s the good news.
A better alternative, which is an easier and safer way of treating this disease is natural cure. A natural prostate remedies have been said to be very effective against this disease.
Speaking of natural cures, here are few herbs that have been found to prevent and even reverse prostate cancer, along with treating benign prostate hyperplasia;
Pumpkin Seeds: It’s very good for enlarged prostate.
Saw Palmetto: If you are looking for a safe and effective herb against prostate enlargement, then this is it.
This herb has been said to reduce prostate inflammation and has no side effects.
Lycopene (the red pigment in tomatoes, pink grapefruit, guava and watermelons)
Soy: Here’s another home remedy for prostate enlargement for men. To benefit from this natural gift, try to add soy products to your meal.
Cayenne Pepper: One of the profound elements found in cayenne pepper is Capsaicin and it is said to have shown an anti-proliferative effect on human prostate cancer cells.
Black Seed (Nigella Sativa, Black Cumin): When it comes to battling cancer naturally, black seed has been one of the most potent plants that do come into mind as it is a very powerful anti-cancer herb.
This plant is very good at treating and preventing prostate cancer and related conditions.
Soursop: The benefits of soursop cannot be overemphasized in the treatment of prostate enlargement.
This gift of nature is said to be so powerful against cancer that it is capable of overpowering chemotherapy.
Stinging Nettle: This is an ancient herb used in treating conditions related to the prostate among the Europeans. This is as well effective at fighting prostate cancer.
Asian Herbs: The best and the easiest way of treating both prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia is using herbs and the Chinese and Japan are best known to possess some of the best ancient, healing herbs in the world. The Prostasure Herb is a good herbal medicine that treats prostate cancer and BHP. Read more on Prostasure Herb here.
If you are a man and above 40 years of age, you should start taking precautions and using anti-cancer cell herbs to prevent yourself from prostate cancer and BPH.
I will leave you with an end note here; all men from 40 years and above should go for a prostate checkup every 6 months whether you experience the above symptoms or not.
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