The answer to this question has been reported in medical journals for some time now.
Medical Report #1: Practitioner medical journal, Guy’s Hospital, London
One scientist from England spelled out the answer quite logically after saying that in the U.K., over 70% of men over the age of 70 have benign prostate hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men there.
Prostate cancer patients usually fall in one of three different categories:
- The patient has no symptoms at all
- The patient has lower urinary tract symptoms who have a prostate biopsy
- The patient has bone pain or other symptoms, showing that the prostate cancer has metastasized to other places in the body.
The main cause of lower urinary tract symptoms such as running to the bathroom several times during the night is BPH, not prostate cancer. In fact, there is only a small portion of men in this category that has these symptoms due to prostate cancer.
The way to differentiate between BPH and prostate cancer is the PSA test and the digital rectal examination. If the digital examination shows there are nodules on the prostate, there’s about a 50% chance of prostate cancer, which will show up on the biopsy. A test showing high levels of PSA but a biopsy must be made before a cancer diagnosis is established.
On the other hand, if the digital rectal exam, PSA and biopsy are negative, you can expect there is no cancer there. Just because someone has BPH, it doesn’t mean that this will develop into prostate cancer. The strongest predictors are age and family history. The only connection between BPH and prostate cancer is that having BPH makes it easier to find a coexisting prostate cancer.
From this researcher, we find that BPH does not become prostate cancer, period.
Medical Report #2, Finding Prostate Cancer in Another Way
Scientists looking for another way to diagnose prostate cancer believe they have found it. They evaluated the ability of the glutathioneS-transferase P1 gene to methylate and found some simple answers. If the gene was hypermethylating, it was associated with 93% of known prostate cancers. If those tested did not have prostate cancer, the hypermethylation only showed up 10% of the time. The genetic test was 93% accurate for prostate cancer with a sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 87%.
This test could be done without invading the actual prostate gland.
Medical Report #3, Doctors Find New Way to Detect Prostate Cancer
Doctors from Turkey have discovered a new way to test patients for prostate cancer. They tested something called omentin levels. Omentin is a substance created by belly fat that circulates throughout the plasma.
The doctors tested known omentin levels in 30 patients with BPH and 30 known patients with prostate cancer. The omentin levels in those with BPH were 373 whereas the omentin levels in prostate cancer patients were 546.8, showing a big difference between the two groups. These differences persisted no matter how much belly fat the man had.
It’s still too early for doctors to advocate using this method across the board right now but in the future, this test may be added to the list of other tests that may be done to determine prostate cancer.
If you have BPH, the chances are good you don’t have prostate cancer. One doesn’t lead to the other. However, don’t neglect testing yourself for prostate cancer as you get older.
Dr. Donna Schwontkowski received a Doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine (D.C.), from the National College of Chiropractic, Lombard, IL, in Dec. 1990. In addition to running a medical practice, Dr Donna has had a long and distinguished career as a medical teacher, both running courses at various universities and also as a published author of several books and as a television presenter on health issues.
Dumache, R., et al. Prostate cancer molecular detection in plasma samples by glutathione-S-transferase P1 (GSTP1) methylation analysis. Clin Lab 2014;60(5):847-62. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24839830
Uyeturk, U., et al. Serum omentin level in patients with prostate cancer. Med Oncol 2014 Apr; 31(4): 923.
Chang, R.T., Kirby, R., and Challacombe, B. Is there a link between BPH and prostate cancer? Practitioner 2012 Apr;256(1750):13-6;2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22792684
Understanding Prostate Changes: A Health Guide for Men. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/understanding-prostate-changes Accessed online Oct. 6, 2018.
About Dr. Donna Schwontkowski
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