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Please, If I may ask

smalldoggroomer's picture
smalldoggroomer
Posts: 1184
Joined: May 2010

I am a wife with breast cancer, I would like to ask all of you if you don't mind. What were your symptoms that led you to investigate if you had prostate cancer or not. My husband is 56 next month and he complains of a weak stream and not being able to empty his bladder. No pain blood or anything just them two symptoms. I have been trying to get him to go to the Dr. But we don't have Ins or allot of money. Are there blood test that can tell? Do you have to have a ultra sound or C.T. scan? What advise can I give my husband to help? Thank you so very much for your help in advance. God bless you all Kay

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1166
Joined: Mar 2010

Kay, welcome to the prostate cancer part of the ACS forum. I'm sure you will find much information here that you and your husband will find useful in answering your questions.

Many, if not most men who have similar symptoms to your husband do not have prostate cancer although the physical symptoms you describe are some of the indicators that exist for men who do have prostate cancer.

To understand the symptoms, it's imnportant to know a little about the anatomy of the prostate and urinary system in men. The prostate is a walnut-sized organ than resides just below the bladder and and just abover the penile bulb at the base of the penis. The urethera drains urine from the bladder through sphincters (sort of like valves) at the top and bottom of the prostate and it passes through the center of the prostate. As pressure builds up in the bladder, it signals a need to use the restroom and the muscles controlling the two sphincters relax allowing urine to pass from the bladder out of the penis.

As men grow older, the prostate tends to enlarge and can sometimes squeeze the urethral tube where it passes through the prostate, reducing its size and produces the weaker stream that many men complain about as they grow older. Because the uretheral tube is narrower than before, the bladder can't drain completely which causes the need to get up frequently in the night or have a feeling that you still need to go even after you have just been to the restroom.

The condition of enlarged prostate is known as benign prostate hyperplasia and is not cancerous. It can be treated with drugs to shrink the prostate or through a minor surgical procedure called a TURP (trans-urethral recision of the prostate). A growing cancer tumor can also squeeze the uretheral passage and this is why it is considered a possible symptom of prostate cancer, although most of ther time the conditions you describe is caused by BPH not cancer.

A condition known as prostatitus, or an inflammation of the prostate, can also cause the symptoms you describe. This conditon is usually treated by drugs and can be alleviated with over the counter medications such as Advil that reduce swelling.

A simple urinary infection, which can sometimes be quite pesky and long lasting, can also cause the symptoms your husband has.

A positive diagnosis for prostate cancer can only be made today with a biopsy where several samples of the prostate are taken at various locations with a tiny needle and examined by a pathologist.

There are other factors that must be considered before a doctor will conduct a biopsy. One of the tests that needs to be taken is a PSA test which is done as part of a routine blood sample. The PSA test looks for the level of prostate specific antigen present in the blood stream and it is one of the chemicals that is given off by prostate cancer cells. Other things can cause a PSA to be elevated so the reading must be taken in context with the total medical conditon of the patient. The doctor will also perform a DRE or digital rectal exam, where he inserts his finger into the anus to feel the texture of the prostate aganist the wall of the colon. The doctor is looking for bumps or hard textures that might indicate the presence of tumors.

In any event, your husband needs a physical exam where the doctor can check his PSA level, do a DRE, and look at all of the other factors that might explain his symptoms. Even if the doctor recommends a biopsy after the exam, most men come back with negative biopsy results but for peace of mind you will likely want to rule out cancer as a cause for these symptoms.

I appreicate your plight with your insurance situation but this is something that you really need to get checked out. Incidently, September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month and there may be some free clinics in your area that could screen your husband without charge or for only a nominal fee.

I do hope you get this checked out soon and let us know the results.

Best of luck to you and your husband, Kay.

smalldoggroomer's picture
smalldoggroomer
Posts: 1184
Joined: May 2010

for all your information. You don't know how much I truly appreciate it. I will keep trying to get my husband to go to the Dr. He is so worried about me right now that he don't want to think about him self. I will certainly keep you posted and thank you again. God bless you. Kay

hopeful and opt...
Posts: 2338
Joined: Apr 2009

Kongo gave you very good advice...May I add that early detection can save a man's life giving him several options, so it is very important for a man to have an annual PSA (blood test) and a digital rectal exam. Also, it is important to keep the results of the PSA, since radical change from one year to the next may indicate that cancer is present.

Anyway please let your husband know that he needs to follow thru now.....

Ira

142
Posts: 169
Joined: Dec 2009

Not knowing where you are located, I would suggest that you look for a large nearby university medical center - they should be aware of local support groups such as USToo, and local Prostate Cancer Foundations - many are doing free screenings during September.
It does not substitute for a doctor / urologist visit, but might be something to get him pointed in the right direction.

Swingshiftworker
Posts: 1013
Joined: Mar 2010

My PCa was only discovered after I complained to my doc about frequent urination at night. I also had problems w/a weak stream and feeling like I still had to go again after I just went.

Took a fresh PSA test, which seemed a little high (4.6) to my doc and was referred to a urologist, who took a biopsy and got a positive hit (1 core out of 10; only 0.5 mm long). No CAT or MRI is required at this stage of assessment.

Would never have known if I didn't get tested.

If it's just a money issue, try to come up w/the money to get your husband tested (PSA and biopsy). His life is at stake. As Kongo points out, he may not have PCa but he won't know unless he's tested. If it's not about the money, some men just have a phobia about going to the doctor. It's a guy thing -- pride and fear (for you as well as him) have something to do with it. If that's the issue, try to get him to realize what is at stake -- not just his life, but your pain and fear in possibly losing him -- to get him to go to the doctor to get properly tested.

Good luck!

ProfWagstaff's picture
ProfWagstaff
Posts: 98
Joined: Jun 2010

Not to scare you, but prostate cancer often does not show ANY symptoms in its early stages. If he HAS symptoms, as Kongo says, it could be a lot of things but PLEASE ask him to get checked. I had NO symptoms except a family history. After months of nagging by friends and family, I finally went to get a PSA test just to shut them up. At 55 I was diagnosed with stage II cancer and still showing no symptoms. Nineteen months after DaVinci, I'm alive, well and have a zero PSA. Every day I thank God for the people who nagged me to get checked. The earlier that cancer is discovered, the wider variety of treatment options are available.

smalldoggroomer's picture
smalldoggroomer
Posts: 1184
Joined: May 2010

Thanks to all of you my husband is going to the Dr tomorrow!!!!!! I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the information and concern. God bless all of you.... You are all in my prayers. Thanks again Kay.

Kongo's picture
Kongo
Posts: 1166
Joined: Mar 2010

Kay, I hope the doctor visit starts you on the path to allaying your concerns and that you get the answers you need to make informed decisions. Please keep us informed of how it goes.

Best of luck to you both.

JR1949
Posts: 230
Joined: Jun 2009

Kay,
You came to the right place for help and information. There are many people who will share their story, answer your questions, give you advice and just give an "ear" to what you have to say or ask.
I am glad to read that your husband has gone to the Dr. Let us know what you find out.
JR

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