Erection Problems? - We Can Help!
No blue pills, no awful side effects, just long lasting results. Your Initial Consultation and First Treatment are COMPLETELY FREE

BPH vs Prostate Cancer: What’s the Difference?

BPH vs Prostate Cancer What's the Difference

Have you felt discomfort when urinating lately? Perhaps it’s getting increasingly harder to push urine out of your bladder, or maybe you’re experiencing a dreaded case of dribbling urine.

If you’ve been experiencing these worrying symptoms, you may automatically assume the worst: cancer. But in reality, these symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have cancer. In fact, they’re more likely indicative of a much less serious condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

While it’s true that both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer interfere with the functioning of the prostate gland, they are two completely separate conditions. Having one doesn’t increase your chance of contracting the other condition, so it’s critical to seek medical attention to uncover the underlying cause of your urinary symptoms.

With that said, what exactly is the difference between BPH and prostate cancer? Should we worry about them in the first place? Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.

What is the Role of the Prostate Gland?

It’s vital to gain a basic understanding of the prostate gland’s role in the body before discussing the two disorders.

The prostate is a small, walnut-sized gland located in front of the rectum and below the urinary bladder in men. The primary function of this gland is to produce seminal fluid, which is a viscous fluid that aids transport sperm out of the body during ejaculation. This fluid also provides essential nutrients that nourish the sperm.

In addition to that, the prostate gland also helps regulate urine flow. It surrounds the urethra, which is the tube urine flows through when exiting the body. The prostate’s 5-alpha-reductase enzyme also converts testosterone in the body into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This new compound is crucial in increasing male sex drive. The production of this hormone tends to decrease in age, which can lead to a reduced sex drive.

What is BPH?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland that is not cancerous. The enlarged prostate presses against the urethra and blocks urine flow.

BPH is a common medical condition in men. It’s estimated that more than 50% of males will have BPH by the time they reach the age of 60, and as many as 90% of men will have the condition by the time they turn 70.

Surgical treatment is an option for those who suffer from moderate BPH symptoms, but it’s not needed if the symptoms are mild and not bothersome. And in most cases, BPH is mild.

What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer refers to the growth of malignant cells in the prostate gland. Just like BPH, this is a highly common disease, estimated to affect 1 out of 8 men in their lifetime. This makes it the second most common cancer in the United States, just behind breast cancer.

Prostate cancer is slow-growing, with cellular changes appearing up to 30 years before the tumor enlarges to a considerable degree and symptoms start to appear. In moderate cases, prostate cancer can metastasize and spread to the pelvic lymph nodes.

For advanced prostate cancer, cancerous cells may spread to the bones. When these symptoms appear, it may be a severe risk to one’s health.

Symptoms of BPH and Prostate Cancer

One of the most confusing things about BPH and prostate cancer is that they share a lot of the same symptoms. This often leads to misdiagnosis, as both conditions require a completely different type of treatment.

The most common symptom shared by both BPH and prostate cancer patients is urination problems. This can include:

  • Nocturia, or the frequent nightly urge to urinate
  • Difficulty starting to urinate
  • Needing to “push” urine
  • Weak or dribbling urine stream
  • Interrupted urine flow
  • Feeling like you’re unable to fully empty your bladder

Prostate cancer symptoms, on top of the aforementioned urinary issues, include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, get treated by a doctor as soon as possible. They’ll provide you with the next steps on how to properly treat developing prostate cancer.

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer and BPH

Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer and BPH

Diagnosing prostate cancer and diagnosing BPH usually requires the patient to undergo a series of lab tests. Here are the ways doctors can detect prostate cancer and BPH in patients:

  1. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: Detecting prostate cancer or abnormal cellular growth is first done through a blood test that determines PSA levels. PSA is a protein that becomes elevated when the prostate enlarges.
  2. Digital rectal exam (DRE): This procedure tasks the doctor to insert a lubricated and gloved finger into the patient’s rectum to feel for any textural abnormalities or lumps in the prostate gland.

For BPH, a specialized post-void residual volume test is conducted to determine how much urine is stored in your bladder after you urinate. In prostate cancer patients, ultrasounds and biopsies are conducted to determine signs of abnormalities in prostate shape and cancer growth in tissues respectively.

Treatment for BPH and Prostate Cancer

The treatment for these two conditions varies considerably. That is why it’s important that you get diagnosed with the right condition to not have any health complications further down the line.

Here are the usual treatment plans for BPH patients:

  • Watchful waiting: For mild cases, doctors won’t perform any invasive surgeries as of this time.
  • Medication: 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors and alpha-blockers are effective in treating BPH. PDE-5 inhibitors may also be helpful, but they come with side effects.
  • Surgery: Displacement or removal of obstructive adenoma may be done to relieve symptoms in patients.

For prostate cancer patients, here’s what to expect when it comes to treatment:

  • Radical prostatectomy: Removal of cancerous prostate tissue.
  • Radiation therapy: High-energy X-ray beams are used to kill cancer cells.
  • Hormone therapy: Reducing the amount of testosterone in the body to prevent cancer cell growth

Your doctor may develop alternative treatment plans if the above methods aren’t enough to treat your personal condition.

Consult a Leading Men’s Health Center for Medical Guidance About BPH and Prostate Cancer

Consult a Leading Men’s Health Center for Medical Guidance About BPH and Prostate Cancer

BPH and prostate cancer share a lot in common, but they are two completely different conditions. They can only be properly diagnosed through tests conducted by a certified doctor.

Treatment plans also differ for these two conditions, so make sure you get a definite diagnosis before starting any sort of treatment on your own.

Looking for a male health specialist? Contact the medical professionals at St. Louis’ Paramount Men’s Medical Center who specialize in treating conditions that impact men’s health. Our concierge approach positions your unique case at the centerpoint of our focus. We don’t just give you a pill for ED and send you on your way. We treat the underlying issues that led to conditions such as ED, Low Testosterone, and more. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

5 Signs of Andropause in Men and How to Treat It

While not as prevalent and as universally known as menopause in women, andropause is a condition that afflicts men in their middle ages. Andropause, commonly referred to as “male menopause” refers to age-related changes that are related to the gradual reduction of testosterone levels…

Is Viagra a Blood Thinner?

Being a drug with erection-inducing properties, many people believe that Viagra’s repertoire far exceeds its actual capabilities. One common misconception a lot of people believe is Viagra’s ability to act as a blood thinner. But let’s keep one thing clear: Viagra (generic name: Sildenafil)…

What Causes Low Energy in Men? 6 Potential Causes

Be honest: have you been feeling a constant surge of unexplainable tiredness hitting you lately? Does this feeling of exhaustion prevent you from performing to your desired levels? While it’s normal to feel tired after a strenuous workout or an all-nighter, persistent tiredness can…

Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Is It Right For You?

When the topic of testosterone gets brought up, images of broad, muscular men and deep, resonant voices often spring to mind. Make no mistake, these two impressions are completely true. Testosterone is indeed responsible for these functions. However, testosterone’s list of functions reaches far…

How Many Times a Day Do Men Get Erections?

Men are no strangers to erections. This occurs when blood rushes to the penis and enlarges it, causing it to be erect and stiff. However, have you ever stopped and wondered how many times a day men get erections? Most of us experience it…

5 Ways Couples Can Overcome Sexual Frustration

Have you ever felt immense disappointment and anger towards something that didn’t go your way? We probably didn’t need to ask—of course you have. That’s a normal part of the human condition. These sources of frustration can come from many places. Your job, your…

How Low Testosterone Affects Male Emotional Health

Can low testosterone cause anxiety and other mental health disorders? What happens if you can’t maintain normal testosterone levels? Is there a link between low testosterone and depression? Yes, doctors will tell you that having low testosterone levels can lead to a major depressive…

10 Surprising Ways Winter Affects Male Sex Drive

Winter—the season of frigid temperatures and long, dark nights. It’s also a time when many couples seek to boost their body heat and engage in skin-to-skin contact, if you catch our drift. But this season doesn’t only bring in cold air, it also brings…

Horny Goat Weed: Does It Work to Treat ED?

Erectile dysfunction affects nearly half of all men aged 40-70 years old to some degree. And with how preventable and treatable this sexual condition is, it’s far too many. There are numerous therapeutic options available to treat ED. Erection medications, penile implants, and vacuum…

Liver Health and Sexual Dysfunction: The Connection

Your body’s second-largest organ, the liver, is essential for survival. As food passes through your digestive system, the liver separates nutrients from waste in a process called metabolism. It also produces bile, an alkaline fluid that removes toxins from your body. The liver also…
Proudly Featured On
ESPN Radio logo
ABC News logo
Fox News Radio logo
CBS Sports Radio logo
NBC Sports Radio logo