Can An Enlarged Prostate Cause Prostate Cancer?


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The results of a new study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, are said to provide “the strongest evidence to date” that benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) does not increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. This finding is the latest to address the question of whether men who have BPH should worry that prostate cancer is in their future.

BPH affects more than 50 percent of men older than 50, and nearly all men (90%) by age 80, although not all men experience symptoms. When symptoms are present, they may be mild and not require treatment. 

Is BPH a risk factor for prostate cancer?

The investigative team examined the association between BPH and the risk of prostate cancer in 5,068 men who participated in the placebo arm of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (1993-2003). Among this group, 1,225 men had prostate cancer detected during the seven-year trial while the remaining 3,843 men had a diagnosis of prostate cancer excluded after undergoing a biopsy.

Symptomatic BPH was identified either by self-report of surgical or medical treatment, based on an International Prostate Symptom Score (IPSS) greater than 14 (indicating moderately severe symptoms), or by a physician’s diagnosis. After taking these three factors into consideration, as well as controlling for age, race, and body mass index, the researchers did not find any association between symptomatic BPH and prostate cancer risk.

Reference

Schenk JM et al. Association of symptomatic benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer: results from the prostate cancer prevention trial. American Journal of Epidemiology 2011 Jun 15; 173(12): 1419-28


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