What Should You Know About Prostate Nodules?
Prostate nodule as the name suggests, refers to formation of a firm swelling on the surface of prostate gland. It may be asymptomatic or may present with long standing pelvic pain and urinary tract infection. Prostate nodules can also present in the setting of prostate malignancy or prostatitis.
Prostate gland is a vital reproductive gland that produces secretions for the vitality of sperms in the semen transportation.
What Is A Prostate Nodule?
As discussed previously, prostate nodule is an area of induration of firmness on the surface of prostate gland. On physical palpation, it feels like the finger knuckle. It is imperative to mention that prostate nodules may be malignant and therefore should be carefully evaluated by histological tissue examination or biopsy.
Prostate Cancer Vs. Prostate Nodules
Traditionally, tumor and nodular growth are both abnormal outgrowth of cells, but it is important to keep in mind that prostate nodules are usually benign and prostate cancer growths are malignant and therefore should be managed at an emergent basis.
What Are Some Common Causes Of Prostate Nodules?
Following are some common causes of prostate nodules:
- Prostate Cancer: Adenocarcinoma of prostate gland usually presents with prostate nodules. Other rare cancers that also presents with prostate nodules are; transitional cell carcinoma, neuroendocrine carcinoma, small cell carcinoma, and sarcoma. Malignancy of prostate gland is the most frequently reported cancer in the United States. According to latest estimates, more than 161,360 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2017; causing more than 26,000 deaths due to cancer related complications.
- Prostatitis: Inflammation of prostate gland due to bacterial infection affects more than 50% of the male population at some point of their life. Symptoms of prostatitis vary, according to the cause, and may include fever, chills, rigor, painful urination, pelvic pain, appearance of blood in the urine and pelvic nodule. Some cases of prostatitis may be asymptomatic. Prostatitis can be managed by taking appropriate antibiotic regimens.
- Prostate calculi: Prostate stones can also present with nodules. It is believed that prostate stones are formed by the accumulation of pus, cellular debris or ongoing infection. Other classic symptoms of prostate calculi are; urinary obstruction, bacterial infection, and other urinary complaints
Other less common causes of prostate nodules are; infarct of prostate tissue, hemorrhoids or other abnormalities of rectum. Some serious sexually transmitted infection and diseases (such as cryptococcal infection in HIV patients) can also present with prostate nodule.
How To Diagnose Prostate Nodules?
The first and foremost step in the diagnostic process is; history taking and examination. Your doctor will ask you question regarding the onset of nodule and associated symptoms. To confirm the cause of nodule, your doctor can advise a number of tests such as biopsy, urine analysis, digital rectal examination, and PSA levels.
How To Manage Prostate Nodules?
The treatment or management options depends on the primary cause of prostate nodules. If you are experiencing prostate nodule due to malignancy, it is highly recommended to seek emergent treatment to remove cancerous mass. For less serious causes such as prostate calculi or prostatitis, appropriate drug or antibiotic regimen can address the issue.
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- Thompson, I. M., Leach, R. J., & Ankerst, D. P. (2014). Focusing PSA testing on detection of high-risk prostate cancers by incorporating patient preferences into decision making. Jama, 312(10), 995-996.