Benign Prostate Hyperplasia: How Is It Different From Prostate Cancer?

benign-prostate

The continuous growth of the prostate gland in men is a normal process, and without any sign of cancer, this growth is called benign prostate hyperplasia (also termed as BPH). It can block the passage of urine in men, which leads to frequent urination and incontinence (inability to control the urine). The treatments for BPH are often non-surgical, and in most cases, it doesn’t need treatment unless you suspect issues like infection or bleeding, etc. 

Prostate cancer is a proper malignancy of the prostate gland, which is associated with malignant growth of the prostate gland. The PSA test is the most important screening tool for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer. All the constitutional symptoms of cancer are present in prostate malignancy; however, these symptoms are absent in BPH(1).

Treatment options for BPH:

The five most successful treatment options for BPH are:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Medications to control the frequent urination
  3. Medications to control the size of the prostate
  4. Minimally invasive procedures like laser, microwave therapy, etc.
  5. Surgical resection of the prostate gland (only in advance cases)(2).

Does the treatment for BPH also prevent prostate cancer?

Benign prostate hyperplasia is a non-cancerous growth of prostate cancer, which is a normal physiological response of the male hormones on a healthy prostate. However, the risks of developing prostate cancer are higher in those males who have enlarged prostate and urological issues associated with this enlargement. A procedure called transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a  gold-standard treatment for BPH, which ensures the minimally invasive trimming of the enlarged prostate gland. However, it cannot save the patient from developing prostate cancer because the cancerous growth can be developed in the remaining portion of the prostate gland. So, if a person undergoes TURP, he is not immune to prostate cancer, and he should perform his annual PSA blood test to screen cancer(3).

References:

1. Chughtai B, Forde JC, Thomas DDM, Laor L, Hossack T, Woo HH, et al. Benign prostatic hyperplasia. Nature reviews Disease primers. 2016;2(1):1-15.

2. Langan RC. Benign prostatic hyperplasia. Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice. 2019;46(2):223-32.

3. Lokeshwar SD, Harper BT, Webb E, Jordan A, Dykes TA, Neal Jr DE, et al. Epidemiology and treatment modalities for the management of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Translational andrology and urology. 2019;8(5):529.

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