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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a lot of movies where a man is getting older, prostate humor is commonly used for laughs.
But more than 30,000 men will die of prostate cancer this year. That’s no laughing matter.
Think of a man’s bladder as a water balloon. Right below it is the prostate, one of the most common reasons men come to the urologist.
Stephen Boorjian is a urological oncologist at Mayo Clinic. He said it all comes with age.
“So as a male ages, a man undergoes naturally, benign prosthetic hyperplasia, bph and enlarging prostate and of the things that affect men’s plumbing,” he said.
Mostly an enlarged prostate interferes with urination, creates difficulty going.
Remedies range from simple lifestyle changes, to medications, to surgery.
Perhaps the bigger prostate fear is cancer, an all-too-common condition for men.
“You know, the estimate is that one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer,” Boorjian said.
That translates to as many as 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer annually in the United States. And makes it the second-leading cancer killer for men.
Early detection helps, and that’s where regular physical exams come in. Combined with the PSA test, which looks for Prostate Specific Antigens in the blood.
“Still 15 to 20 percent of the cancers that we diagnose are in men with what we call a normal PSA,” Boorjian said. “So that’s why it’s the combination of the PSA plus the exam that really would provide patients with the best screening evaluation.”
Dr. Boorjian says modern, minimally invasive procedures, from imaging tools to radiology to robot-assisted prostate surgery, vastly improve the odds of beating the cancer and preserving quality of life.
Increasing age, family history and being African American all increase the risks for prostate cancer.
Dr. Boorjian said annual exams after age 40 can help catch it early.