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Is Prostate Inflammation a Risk Factor for Prostate Cancer?

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One question asked by doctors is whether inflammation of the prostate gland ? medically known as prostatitis ? has any long-term consequences. Some studies have suggested that it can increase a man's risk of developing prostate cancer.

Although many men never develop symptoms of prostatitis, others will complain of problems with urination, such as pain or burning, slowing of the stream, frequency and urgency, and possibly fever or pain in the back and perineum. Although it can occur at any age, younger men are more likely to be affected. Sometimes it is caused by bacteria, but often there is no clear explanation. Some men develop recurring symptoms that can linger for several years before ultimately disappearing.

Inflammation is often found in men undergoing removal of their prostate gland to treat their cancer. That alone, however, does not prove cause and effect. Also previous studies had some flaws making firm conclusions difficult.

Now a new study has been published that provides additional support for a possible cause and effect of prostatitis and prostate cancer. The authors analyzed prostate biopsies performed on men who participated in a previous well-designed study aimed at preventing prostate cancer with a drug called finasteride. Some of the men in this study received a placebo, or inactive drug, and, at the end of the trial, they underwent a prostate biopsy even though there was no suggestion of cancer.

In the new study, the biopsies of the patients receiving the placebo who were found to have cancer were reviewed and compared to men with a negative biopsy. The authors found that men with inflammation were about twice as likely to be diagnosed with a more aggressive prostate cancer than men without inflammation. Here, too, this is not clear proof that inflammation is the cause for the cancer. One thing missing from the study was how often men with prostate cancer and no inflammation on their biopsy actually did have inflammation after their entire prostate gland was removed. It is possible that many of them also had inflammation, but in an area of the prostate gland not sampled during the biopsy.

Nevertheless, if there is a real association between these two diseases, the question is what to do about it. Since it is unclear how men develop prostatitis, doctors cannot offer clear advice on ways to prevent getting it. Also, since many men may never have symptoms, alerting young men about this disease may not lead them to seek treatment. We also do not know whether proper treatment of prostatitis will have any impact on the eventual development of prostate cancer.

For now, we can conclude that this is a work in progress. The new information is interesting, but more needs to be done to understand how inflammation might cause cells to undergo changes leading to cancer.

Last Updated:5/19/2014
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Date: 09.12.2018, 03:46 / Views: 31391