Can Prostate Enlargement Lead To Cancer?

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The size of prostate is similar to a walnut. It is small but it is so important to support the male reproductive system. It is located underneath the bladder and in front of the back passage (rectum). Prostate enlargement in elderly men (older than 50) is pretty common. But can it lead to cancer of prostate?

Understanding prostate enlargement in general

Prostate enlargement (medically often called as hypertrophy or benign prostatic hyperplasia ‘BPH’) is a condition of when there is an increase in the number of prostate cells and tissues. The good news, typically these cells are non-cancerous.


This enlargement may cause some discomfort symptoms. Mostly, these are associated with changes in the habit of how you pass urine, because the enlarged prostate can press and affect the urethra (the tube that lines from the bladder to the male genital organ).

image_illustration269Common symptoms related to the way of how to pass urine if you have BPH may include:

  1. Increased urge to urinate.
  2. Frequent urination (more nighttime urination).
  3. Difficulty urinating (especially difficulty to start passing urine). And while urinating, you may need to strain.
  4. Decreased strength of urine stream.
  5. Dribbling of urine (particularly at the end of urination).
  6. Difficulty in completely emptying bladder. Many times you feel that your bladder is not completely empty after you pee.

In rare cases, men with BPH may also experience inability to pass urine at all, infection in the urinary tract, or even blood found in the urine.

What are the causes, risk factors, and how common is it?

BPH is pretty common, but the exact cause of how it occurs is not known yet – though some speculations and theories have been proposed. Some experts believe that it is a consequence from the imbalance of some hormones (such as testosterone and DHT ‘dihydrotestosterone’) as the age.

While the exact cause is still debatable, some risk factors have been confirmed. These include:

  1. Age! Yap, it is the major risk factor of prostate enlargement. Most men who notice the symptoms of their enlarged prostate are older than 50s. For those with it at the age of 40 or younger, the symptoms are less likely to be noticed.
  2. If you have a blood relative (such as father or brother) with the same problem.
  3. Certain conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.
  4. The background of your ethnic. Men from Asia are less likely to have it than white & black men.
  5. Modifiable risk factors, these include obesity and lack of exercise.

Approximately half of men in their 50s-60s experience BHT symptoms. The number increases significantly with the age. For instance, about almost 90 percent of men in their 70s-80s develop enlarged prostate.

What is prostate cancer?

As the name suggests, it is a cancerous tumor that grows in the prostate. It is a common cancer that affects men (especially elderly men) in many countries, including in the U.K and U.S.

As with many other cancer forms, cancer of prostate can be a life-threatening condition, especially at advanced stage! Yap, the stage of prostate cancer can play a key role in the outcome and outlook. Other factors such as Gleason score and PSA level can have an effect, too; see also the survival rates for men with prostate cancer!

Luckily, many cases of this cancer develop very slowly (not aggressive). That’s why, many times patients are recommended to delay the treatment and go with active monitoring – particularly for those older than 50s-60s, the golden age when the cancer is less likely to cause serious problem in the rest of patient’s life.

Active monitoring doesn’t mean you and your doctor can forget and ignore the cancer. Instead, the disease is regularly monitored. When your doctor find that it might start to spread, treatment is immediately necessary.

Can prostate enlargement lead to prostate cancer?

Age can play a key role in both BPH and prostate cancer. The same goes for the symptoms, most of prostate cancer symptoms can be found in men with BPH, too.

At early stage, cancer of prostate is less likely to cause the symptoms. But when it has become large enough, it can press the urethra, causing problems of urination.

Again, BPH and prostate cancer are different condition. BPH is benign, non-cancerous growth – but can it lead to cancerous growth?

Well, both men with or without BPH can have cancer of prostate. But both conditions are commonly not linked. There is no evidence to suggest that enlarged prostate causes or raises the risk of prostate cancer.

The following are some possible complications from BPH:


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