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Not always cancer: Five warning signs for a sick prostate Prostatitis: Prostate inflammation is so dangerous Enlarged prostate: Detect and treat prostate hyperplasia Expert dispute about utility value: What you should know about the PSA value Problems with incontinence: Bladder weakness affects men too

Patients die from other factors

According to the American Cancer Society, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from the condition. Between 40 and 50 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer in the United States now choose to actively monitor. In 2012, an expert committee commissioned by the US government recommended that the screening tests for the prostate-specific antigen PSA be discontinued. The median age at diagnosis of prostate cancer in the United States is 66 years.

The diagnosis of prostate cancer comes as a shock to many men. At the same time, it often confronts those affected with a psychological dilemma: do they have to be operated on or irradiated immediately? Or is it enough to observe the tumor first? An expert gives advice on how patients can cope with this difficult situation. 

In order to detect tumors in the prostate as early as possible, doctors use a number of procedures as part of cancer prevention. 

Only the tissue sample provides certainty

The best known is the PSA test, which measures the number of prostate-specific antigen in the blood. If this value is high, it can be a sign that dangerous tumor cells are growing.

These diseases of the prostate exist
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Doctors recommend a biopsy for further clarification. This is the only way to be certain whether a tumor is actually present.

Speed ​​is not required with all tumors

If cancer cells are found in the tissue sample, this does not automatically mean that the patient has to go under the knife immediately. Rather, it depends on the type of tumor.

"If you have low-risk prostate cancer, i.e. the cells are not aggressive and do not form any colonization, it is justified to wait and see and regularly check the PSA level"says Dr. Wolfgang Bühmann, press spokesman for the Professional Association of German Urologists (BDU).

Many prostate cancers are harmless, grow only slowly and do not form metastases. Often the patient can continue to live for a long time without any problems and the cancer does not develop any further.

Close controls and active monitoring

The checks should be carried out quarterly over a period of one year. If the PSA value rises during this period, another tissue sample should be taken, advises the expert. "It is checked whether the tumor has turned into an aggressive one." If this is not the case, monitoring can continue. For the patient this has the advantage that he does not have to undergo an operation and that he is spared common side effects such as incontinence and impotence. 

If the values ​​develop negatively, however, further measures should be discussed with the treating urologist. "As a rule, surgery or, alternatively, radiation therapy are considered"says Bühmann.

A decision that nobody can make for you

Whether this type of defensive treatment is possible in individual cases must be discussed with the doctor. This requires thorough advice. 

Ultimately, however, it is the patient who has to decide whether he can continue to live with the thought of having a dormant tumor inside him or whether he would rather have it removed from his body and be on the safe side.

Both possibilities have their justification. The first, however, requires a high level of mental resilience. The decision is therefore a very personal one and should be carefully considered. 

Walking a tightrope between over- and under-therapy

The recommendation of the right therapy often poses a dilemma, not only for the patient, but also for the doctor. Because assessing whether and how prostate cancer develops is actually a high medical skill that requires a lot of experience, says Bühmann.

Patients are afraid of doing something wrong

Bühmann has repeatedly observed that men with prostate cancer who do not necessarily have to undergo an operation are unsure about their therapy. The urologist recommends such patients to get a second opinion. "After all, this is an important decision for the patient, which also requires a great deal of trust in the competence of the doctor."  

To a certain extent, however, Bühmann can also relieve affected men of fear: "There are long-term statistics for active monitoring that show how the individual tumor types are behaving and developing. If there are close controls and the patient is in close contact with his urologist, there are no disadvantages from this type of therapy."

Age also plays an important role

The question of whether defensive treatment is an option or whether an operation should be better also depends on the age of the patient. "If a 75-year-old man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the risk of dying from it is very low — regardless of the aggressiveness of the tumor"says Bühmann.

Active, curative treatment with radiation therapy and surgery is usually only useful if there is still a natural life expectancy of at least ten years. In this case, careful consideration should be given to avoiding an operation.

The feeling of having a ticking bomb inside

Younger men, on the other hand, have a completely different problem: "There are a number of patients who cannot cope with the fact that they have a tumor"says Bühmann. "You feel like you have a ticking bomb inside you."

That is why it happens again and again that men decide against defensive treatment and have the tumor removed from them. 

Mental support from the psycho-oncologist 

For those who wait and see, Bühmann recommends accompanying a psycho-oncologist. This is a cancer expert who mainly deals with the emotional consequences of the disease and supports patients with signs of stress, tension and anxiety.

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Exchanging ideas with other people affected can also help to reduce fears. Bühmann refers here to the Bundesverband Prostatakrebs Selbsthilfe e.V ..

Prostate cancer is the most common type of tumor in men. In Germany, according to estimates by the Robert Koch Institute, over 64,000 men fall ill every year. But very few of them go for early detection in time. It plays the most important role in the fight against cancer. This is how the examination at the urologist works.

Prostate examination is mandatory for men

Although early detection does not prevent the onset of the disease, it can make a significant contribution to minimizing the risk. The German Cancer Aid recommends men aged 40 and over to have a prostate examination performed once a year. Because the insidious thing about prostate cancer: In contrast to the benign enlargement of the prostate, cancer does not cause any symptoms in the early stages. When pain occurs, the disease is usually well advanced and the chances of recovery are worse.

From the age of 45, the cash register pays the costs

The statutory health insurance companies cover the costs of an annual palpation examination for men aged 45 and over. The doctor examines the genitals and feels the prostate through the intestine. However, this method sometimes misses very small and inconveniently located tumors.

PSA levels are subject to natural fluctuations

Many urologists therefore recommend the so-called PSA test. This is a blood test that measures the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is only produced by the prostate. In healthy men, this value is between zero and four nanograms per milliliter. If this rises, it may be prostate cancer that needs treatment.

Have values ​​checked regularly

However, experts emphasize that a high PSA level does not automatically indicate prostate cancer. An infection or a benign enlargement of the prostate can also increase the value. In addition, mechanical stimuli such as riding a bicycle or palpating the prostate during a preventive check-up can temporarily increase the PSA level. Rather, it must be observed whether the PSA value increases over the years. As a rule of thumb, if the value increases by more than 0.75 ng / ml annually, the doctor will talk to the patient about a tissue sample. Because this alone can clarify whether it is prostate cancer.

The cost of the PSA test is around 30 euros and has not yet been covered by health insurance companies.

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Do something for your health yourself

In addition, men can, to some extent, minimize their risk of prostate cancer. According to the German Cancer Aid, body weight and regular physical activity play an essential role in prevention.

At some point it affects every man: From around the age of 45, the prostate begins to grow slowly. And with it, the risk of prostate cancer also increases. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), around 70,000 men receive this diagnosis every year. We explain which warning signs indicate the disease and why it is often too late by then.

"Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the third most common cause of cancer death in men in Germany", announced the RKI on its website. The exact causes for the development have not yet been conclusively clarified, despite extensive research.

Changes in the hormonal balance increase the risk

The already known risk factors include genetic predisposition and changes in the hormonal balance: the role of male sex hormones is clear, according to the RKI. Without it, prostate cancer would not develop in the first place. As the hormone composition changes with age, the risk of developing tumors also increases.

Every sixth man over 50 is affected

As reported by the German Society for Urology (DGU), 17 out of 100 men over the age of 50 develop prostate cancer. Three of them die from it. Since the tumor usually grows slowly, however, the chances are good that the cancer will be detected in the course of early detection before it becomes life-threatening. 

Not all cancer needs treatment

"Many tumors can even be observed for many years without any intervention being necessary", emphasizes Dr. Wolfgang Bühmann, urologist and press spokesman for the Professional Association of German Urologists (BDU). "If prostate cancer is not detected early and regularly examined, it can be dangerous. Once it has spread, it is no longer curable."

Five warning signs

The tricky thing about cancer is that it doesn’t show any symptoms at the beginning. By the time the man feels the first warning signs, it may be too late for treatment. According to the German Cancer Aid, men should not delay a visit to the doctor for the following five symptoms: pain in the prostate, impaired urination of the bladder, problems with emptying the bowel, blood in the urine as well "sciatica"-Pain. The latter can be caused by bone metastases in an advanced stage.

But: "These symptoms do not appear until the tumor has exceeded a critical size or has spread metastases in the lymph nodes or bones"warn the cancer experts.

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Obtain early detection examinations

Cancer screening tests therefore play an important role in men’s health. From the age of 45, the health insurance companies cover the costs for the digital rectal palpation examination and for the examination of the external genitalia every year. Many urologists and the German Cancer Aid are convinced that these are not sufficient as the sole examination measures. Her advice: Men should also check with their doctor about the PSA test. The patient has to bear the costs of around 30 euros himself.

Men who contract the STD Trichomonas vaginalis while having sex may be at higher risk of prostate cancer. American scientists from the University of California found this out. As part of a trade magazine "PNAS" published study, you found evidence that the sex germ promotes the growth of tumor cells. Further studies should now provide final proof of a connection between infection and the development of cancer.

Trichomonas vaginalis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. She can meet both men and women. Around 275 million people are infected worldwide every year. The pathogens are unicellular parasites and are transmitted through the mucous membranes during sexual intercourse. This can cause inflammation of the genital organs, the urinary tract or the prostate.

Symptoms of the infection: itching, burning, and discharge

The disease often goes unnoticed. But sometimes symptoms also occur: Itching on the penis is typical in men. A burning sensation after urinating or ejaculation, as well as white discharge from the penis are possible. In women, the infection manifests itself as itching, pain in the genital area and when urinating, and a strong-smelling discharge.

Lifestyle — attack on the stronger sex

Attack on the stronger sex

Prostate cancer is often diagnosed too late. to the video

An infection is easy to treat with antibiotics.

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