Over 30 million men currently suffer from prostate and testicular problems that significantly impair their quality of life. And while more than 7,000 new cases of testicular cancer were diagnosed in 2008, nearly 200,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer that same year. Despite the prevalence of these prostate and testicular conditions, the good news is that prostate and testicular conditions are relatively easy to prevent, detect and treat.
To take action to promote optimal prostate and testicular health, men of all ages should:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Get regular checkups
- Perform self-checkups on a regular basis
Treating Prostate and Testicular Conditions
At Loma Linda University Health, our highly trained urological staff is committed to:
- Detecting prostate and testicular conditions in their early stages
- Providing compassionate care and cutting-edge urological treatments
- Educating men about how to maintain prostate and testicular health
- Conducting ongoing research and clinical trials to find new diagnostic methods and treatments for prostate and testicular conditions
Loma Linda University Health's Urology Department and Cancer Center regularly treat prostate and testicular conditions, including, but not limited to, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer, prostatitis, epididymitis, hypogonadism, testicular cancer, testicular trauma and testicular torsion.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Although millions of American men are currently living with prostate and testicular disorders, most of these conditions are highly treatable if diagnosed and treated in their earlier stages. In fact, about 34 out of every 35 men diagnosed with prostate cancer - one of the most severe prostate disorders - will survive their condition. Similarly, more than 90 percent of men diagnosed with testicular cancer will also survive.
At Loma Linda University Health, our caring, experienced staff uses new technologies and cutting-edge processes to:
- Detect prostate and testicular disorders in their early stages
- Provide immediate medical care to prevent further complications and save patients' lives
- Educate men about what they can do after treatment to keep their risk low and improve their prostate and testicular health
Diagnosing Prostate Disorders
The precise tests and methods our doctors and nurses use will depend on the type and severity of a patient's symptoms. For most prostate disorders, diagnostic processes will include some combination of these evaluations:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE) - the process of inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into a man's rectum to feel for any abnormalities with the size or shape of his prostate
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test - a blood test that examines the levels of PSA in the blood. High levels of PSA indicate possible prostate enlargement, infection, inflammation or cancer.
- Transrectal ultrasound - an imaging test in which a rectal probe uses sound waves to recreate a picture of the prostate
- Prostate biopsy - the process of taking a small tissue sample from the prostate to evaluate whether the organ is somehow diseased
Prostate biopsies are typically only performed when the first set of prostate diagnostic tests indicate abnormalities. If our specialists suspect that prostate disorders may be causing other health problems, such as malignancies in other areas of the body, further ultrasounds, MRIs and / or CT scans may also be performed.
Diagnosing Testicular Disorders
To confirm or rule out the presence of testicular disorders, our specialists will perform some combination of the following exams and tests:
- An ultrasound to create an image of the scrotum, see if any lumps are present and evaluate whether the lumps are solid or fluid-filled
- Blood tests to show if testicular tumors are causing any abnormalities in the blood
- CT scans to determine the stage of the testicular disorder and, if malignancies are present, whether the tumors have metastasized or spread
Our Prostate & Testicular Treatment Services
An official diagnosis of a prostate or testicular disorder will be followed by immediate treatment, which will vary according to the type and severity of the condition a patient has. Loma Linda University Health's prostate and testicular treatment services include but are not limited to the following procedures and therapies:
- Cryotherapy - the use of chemicals to freeze and kill diseased or malignant tissues
- Gene therapy - the act of inserting genetic material into patient's cells in an effort to replace defective cells, also known as immune therapy
- Hormone therapy to limit the amount of testosterone men are producing
- Proton radiation therapy - the use of targeted proton particles to kill malignant cells and minimize damage to surrounding, healthy tissues
- Radical inguinal orchiectomy - a surgical procedure to remove diseased testicles
- Robotic and minimally invasive surgery, which uses state-of-the-art technologies to limit the number and size of incisions made during the surgical process
- Robotic prostatectomy - the use of robotic surgical instruments to remove the prostate, officially known as da Vinci robotic prostatectomy
Traditional radiation and chemotherapy may also be part of the treatment regimen for patients diagnosed with prostate and testicular disorders. Men also benefit from the Loma Linda University Center for Health Promotion’s lifestyle and wellness program that ensures men maintain a high quality of life while undergoing cancer treatment for prostate cancer, specifically.
Prevention & Testicular Health
One in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Currently about 30 million more American men suffer from some type of prostate disorder that significantly impairs their health.
While testicular diseases tend to occur less frequently, they are no less serious. Of the 8,250 men diagnosed with testicular cancer annually, about 5 percent will die as a result of this condition. Men between 20 and 54 have the highest risk of developing testicular cancer.
Although it's impossible to completely prevent prostate and testicular disorders, men can take action to lower their risk by getting regular medical checkups and performing self-exams between doctor visits, eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants such as lycopene, exercising regularly and taking daily vitamin supplements.
At Loma Linda University Health, our dedicated specialists have extensive experience providing patient-centered care focused on:
- Evaluating men's individual risk of developing prostate disorders
- Educating men about how they can lower their risk
- Supporting men as they adopt lifestyle changes that will improve their prostate health and overall wellbeing
Evaluating Your Risk of Prostate & Testicular Disorders
Loma Linda University Health's Urology Department and Cancer Center evaluate prostate and testicular disorder risk by:
- Asking patients about their lifestyle and dietary habits
- Gathering a complete history of the conditions a man has suffered or currently lives with
- Listing prostate disorders that have affected other men in the patient's family
- Noting any medications patients have taken and are currently on particularly if they have been or are on testosterone therapy
Risk Factors for Prostate and Testicular Disorders
While these men over 50 years old are at highest risk of developing prostate disorders and men between the ages of 20 and 54 are most at risk of developing testicular problems, age is just one of the factors that can increase a man’s risk of developing prostate and testicular disorders. Other risk factors include:
- Diet and weight – Eating a high-fat diet or being overweight or obese can increase men's testosterone levels, which in turn increases the risk of developing prostate and testicular health conditions.
- Ethnicity – African American men have a higher risk than men of other ethnicities of developing prostate disorders, and Caucasian males are most likely to develop testicular disorders.
- Family history – If a man's father or brother has suffered from a prostate or testicular disorder, he has a particularly high risk of developing the same condition.
- Testosterone levels – Men on testosterone therapy or who have naturally high levels of testosterone are more likely to develop prostate and testicular disorders.
- Other factors such as whether or not a man smokes, has contracted HIV or has undescended testicles contribute to his risk for developing testicular problems.
When to See a Doctor
To maintain optimal prostate health, it's vital that men get regular prostate exams from their doctors. If men develop the following symptoms, they should seek immediate medical attention to determine whether they are developing some type of prostate disorder:
- Blood in semen
- Hematuria or blood in urine
- Chills and / or fever
- Difficulty urinating
- Discomfort in the pelvic region
- Inflamed scrotum and / or testicle pain
- Interrupted urination and / or weakened urine stream
- Painful urination, intercourse or ejaculation
- Recurring bone pain