BPH vs Prostate Cancer

February 22, 2024
BPH vs Prostate Cancer

Differentiating between benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer can be confusing because the symptoms are often similar. Both of these conditions affect the male prostate gland and can lead to undesirable urinary symptoms. Read on to learn more about the differences between BPH vs prostate cancer.

Is it Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-cancerous condition that leads to enlargement of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is a donut-shaped gland that sits just below the bladder and encircles the urethra. As the size of the prostate continues to grow, it can disrupt the natural flow of urine out of the body. BPH is often considered a normal part of aging in men, but the urinary symptoms can often become very bothersome over time.

Symptoms of BPH

Common symptoms associated with BPH include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Straining with urination
  • Urinary urgency
  • Difficulty starting a stream
  • Slow or weak urinary stream
  • Feeling like your bladder is not empty

Treatments for BPH

Although the symptoms of BPH can be frustrating, there are many different treatments available to help reduce your symptoms so you can get back to enjoying your life. Treatment options include:

  • Medications that can shrink and relax the prostate, restoring normal urine flow
  • Minimally invasive procedures such as Rezum, GreenLight Therapy, or UroLift
  • In some cases, surgery may be indicated to help reduce your BPH symptoms

Is it Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer that affects men. Prostate cancer causes malignant or cancerous cells to grow within the prostate, which can increase the size of the prostate and lead to undesirable urinary symptoms.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer can cause similar symptoms when compared to BPH. Both BPH and prostate cancer can cause frequent urination, straining with urination, and a slow urine stream, but there are some key differences that you should be aware of. Some of the most common symptoms of prostate cancer that differ from BPH include:

  • Blood in the semen
  • Pelvic or back discomfort
  • Bone pain, if the cancer has spread
  • Unexplained weight loss, in advanced cases

Treatments for Prostate Cancer

There are many different prostate cancer therapies available to treat prostate cancer. Depending on how far your prostate cancer has advanced, treatment options might include:

  • Active surveillance for low-risk prostate cancers
  • Radiation
  • Hormone therapies
  • Surgery to remove the prostate
  • Chemotherapy

How to Tell the Difference in BPH vs Prostate Cancer

Because BPH and prostate cancer can cause similar urinary symptoms, they can easily be confused with one another. If you are experiencing any abnormal urinary symptoms, it is important to speak with your doctor about testing that can be done to diagnose the cause of your symptoms.

If you are concerned your urinary symptoms could be BPH or prostate cancer, don’t wait – schedule an appointment today!

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