Prostate

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Prostate

THE PROSTATE:

 

prostate-1Prostate Location:

The prostate gland is just below the bladder, behind the pubic bone and just in front of the rectum.  The prostate wraps around the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis.  

Prostate Gland Function:

The prostate helps to control the flow of urine.During sexual activity,the seminal vesicles that are attached to the prostate produce a protein that mixes with prostatic fluid which forms semen.  The tubes from the testicles carry sperm up to the prostate where sperm is mixed with the seminal vesicle and prostatic fluids.  This fluid is ejaculated during orgasm through ejaculatory ducts that connect to the urethra.  

 

According to the "Prostate Cancer Foundation" { This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. },  prostate cancer is the most common cancer in America. When I tell the male patients in my office that prostate cancer is in epidemic proportions, they all seemed shocked and surprised. Unfortunately it is true. Consider the following:

  •  Every year, over 232,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and over 30,000 men will die from it.
  •  One new case occurs every 2.5 minutes!! A man dies from prostate cancer in the U.S. every 17 minutes.
  • After lung cancer, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in men in the U.S.
  • A non-smoking man is more likely to get prostate cancer than lung, bronchus, colon, rectal, bladder, lymphoma, melanoma, oral and kidney cancers combined.
  • It is estimated that there are over 2 million American men currently living with prostate cancer.
  • Early prostate cancer usually has NO SYMPTOMS, and is most commonly detected through prostate cancer screening tests like the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test and a digital rectal exam.
  • African-American men are 65% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than Caucasion-Americans and are more than twice as likely to die from it. The reason as yet is unknown.
  • Prostate cancer can be eliminated from the body by surgery or radiation-if diagnosed early enough.
  • If diagnosed too late such that surgery and radiation are deemed to risky, castration is offered as a solution; either chemical (large dosages of estrogen) or surgically. In the medical literature, there is not one recorded case of a eunuch (castrated male) ever having prostate cancer. This refers to men castrated long before the fact, that is to say, as young men.
  • The chances of having prostate cancer increases rapidly over the age of 50. More than 70% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. It is still unclear why this increase with age occurs.

As my radiology professor at chiropractic college, Lindsay Rowe, DC, DACBR, always used to say, "Other than eunuchs, if you live long enough, all men will either die of prostate cancer or die with it." It is a frightening thought for men, especially considering that cases are being reported in the literature in men under 40 years of age now. But there are ways to fight back. As mentioned above, early detection like all cancer therapy, is a key element in any man's concerted effort to monitor himself. At Boston Spine Clinics, we strongly urge all men over the age of 36 to start getting regular, yearly checkups for this condition. The check up is two fold; visiting your PCP/internist and having him/her perform 1) a manual(digital) rectal exam. The prostate is unique in that it can be palpated by hand right inside the rectum. If it appears hard, mishaped and/or swollen it is a sign that it needs to be checked further. 2) Obtain a yearly or at least bi-annual PSA blood test. PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen. This simple blood inventory is easily investigated. PSA is an enzyme produced in the prostate that is found in the seminal fluid and the bloodstream. An elevated PSA level in the blood can mean several things such as casual inflamation, mild infection or perhaps early cancer degeneration. Many men with elevated PSA values DO NOT have cancer. However, the so-called normal levels need be in the range of 0-4 nanograms per mililiter. This is widely believed to be the cutoff where the sensitivity for detecting prostate cancer is the highest and the specificity for detecting non-cancerous lesion the lowest. If the PSA value is elevated, your PCP/internist may suggest a biopsy to confirm whether or not cancer has begun in your prostate.

Bear in mind, the PSA, while innovative and widely accepted, is not perfect. A man can have prostate cancer and still have a "normal" PSA. About 25% of the men with prostate cancer had PSA values under 4.0. Add to that, only around 25% of the men with elevated PSA values in the 4-10 ng/ml range actually had prostate cancer. When the PSA spikes over 10 ng/ml, the chances that it is indicative of cancer jumps to 65% or better. *Note the story I related in the "Pain Discussion" section. That poor soul had a 1800 ng/ml level of PSA. There was no doubt in his case.

Like most doctors and the Prostate Cancer Foundation itself, Boston Spine Clinicsstrongly urges all men over 39 to start getting general, PREVENTIVE check-ups yearly with their PCP or internist. This exam should, by definition, include PSA screening as well as a digital rectal exam. Early detection, as in most cases of illness, is the ultimate key to preventing the problem in the first place.

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617-666-1767

 

marker 27 Wolcott Street
       Everett, MA, 02149

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.