Enlarged prostate may actually lower a man’s odds for cancer

In a new study from Michigan Medicine, researchers found having an enlarged prostate does not doom you to prostate cancer

Also called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), the condition may actually provide some protection for men from developing prostate cancer.

BPH is common in aging men and can cause a frequent need to urinate, often at night, or a weak flow of urine. This is because the central part of the prostate enlarges and can block urine from leaving the bladder.

Surprisingly, as the prostate continues to enlarge, the odds of prostate cancer goes down.

In the study, the team collected data on 405 men with BPH and looked for evidence of prostate cancer on MRIs of prostate tissue.

They found that as the size of the prostate increased, the risk of prostate cancer decreased.

For every one cubic centimeter increase in the volume of the prostate, the risk for prostate cancer dropped by about 3%.

The team says the size of the central gland from BPH may help to stratify risk for patients with prostate cancer.

Currently, prostate cancer patients are categorized into low, intermediate and high risk, with central gland contributions not taken into account.

In the future, the degree of BPH as measured on prostate MRI may also be contributory to help determine prognosis and the course of therapy.

Some commonly used BPH drugs called 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors—including finasteride (Proscar)—decrease the size of the prostate, and have a U.S. Food and Drug Administration drug safety warning because they have been found to increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer.

The study is published in The Prostate. One author of the study is Dr. Kiran Nandalur.

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