Monthly Archives January 2016

4Kscore and PHI: The Blood Tests Doctors Trust

GS_4kscore and PHIThe best way to be proactive in your prostate health is through an annual Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. You don’t have to be experiencing prostate issues to take this test. PSA testing should be a part of your standard physical, especially in men who are 55 or older.

But what happens if that test comes back elevated? A high PSA can be caused by several different factors and conditions. Cancer isn’t always the answer. In fact, it usually isn’t. Out of the one million prostate biopsies ordered each year, only twenty percent of them confirm signs of life-threatening cancer. However, it is important to identify why your PSA level is elevated. That’s why doctors are turning to PHI and 4Kscore blood tests to help gain insight on what your elevated PSA level means.

What is PHI?

PHI stands for Prostate Health Index. It is a blood test that combines three different tests to detect whether or not a patient has aggressive or benign prostate cancer. A PHI test is typically given to men over the age of fifty.

This blood test is three times more likely to detect prostate cancer than a PSA screening, which is why doctors prefer to recommend a PHI test before conducting more invasive procedures, such as a prostate biopsy.

The lower your PHI is, the better. If your PHI is low, your doctor will simply recommend an increase in checkups to monitor your prostate health. If it is high, the next step would be to conduct a prostate biopsy.

What is 4K?

The 4Kscore test is specifically created to identify signs of the more aggressive form of cancer knowns as high-grade prostate cancer. Like PHI, it is a simple blood test and does not involve any invasive procedures. The test was studied for over a decade by researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center who worked with over 22,000 patients to prove its effectiveness.

Warning Signs for Prostate Issues

There are several warning signs to look for when identifying prostate problems. Those symptoms include:

  • Frequent, painful, or difficult urination
  • Blood or semen in urine
  • Dribbling urine
  • Difficulty having erections
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Chronic pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, or upper thighs

While the direct cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are certain factors that elevate your risks, including age, race/ethnicity, family history, diet, obesity, and smoking.

When Should I See a Urologist?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above or if you’re above the age of fifty and haven’t had an annual physical, then you should call to set an appointment with your doctor.

Gulfshore Urology is the leading urology practice in Florida. You can contact our experienced and friendly team at 239-333-3200 or use our contact form.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Jan 29, 2016   Blood Testing, PSA Testing   Comments Off on 4Kscore and PHI: The Blood Tests Doctors Trust   Read More

What is Peyronie’s Disease?

Peyronie’s DiseaseMen who are experiencing painful erections with a significant bend may be suffering from Peyronie’s Disease. This harmful disease is caused by scar tissue called “plaque” that builds up inside the penis and can cause a side or upward bend, painful erections and in some cases erectile dysfunction.

Some men may be tempted to “wait it out” and hope that the problem corrects itself. There are cases where the body heals itself. However, if left untreated, Peyronie’s Disease can lead to an increased or permanent bend in the penis, which is why it’s important to contact your urologist if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Peyronie’s Disease include:

  1. Penis pain
    Men suffering from Peyronie’s Disease may experience pain during erection, without an erection, or both.
  2. Significant bend in the penis
    Plaque caused by Peyronie’s Disease can cause an upward or sideways bend in the penis.
  3. Internal scar tissue
    Peyronie’s Disease is caused by scar tissue known as “plaque” that can be felt inside the penis. In some cases, you may only notice this while the penis is erect.
  4. Erectile dysfunction
    More severe cases of Peyronie’s Disease can lead to erectile dysfunction.

Cause

While researchers have yet to ascertain a specific cause for Peyronie’s Disease, doctors and researchers have come to believe that it may be a result of:

  1. Acute, chronic or repetitive internal injury or trauma to the penis
    This trauma may or may not be remembered by the patient, as the injury results in internal bleeding within the penis, which then develops plaque as it heals.
  2. An auto-immune disorder
    In some cases, the body’s immune system may be working against the patient, attacking its own cells and organs which can lead to plaque buildup. Patients may notice scars in places like the hand (Dupuytren’s contracture) or suffer recurrent plantar fasciitis.

What doctors do know is that the symptoms of this disease is caused by the plaque. While Peyronie’s Disease is most commonly found in middle-aged men, there is no age range for the diagnosis. It can occur in men both young and old.

Treatment

Peyronie’s Disease is a serious condition that can have long-term effects. Should you be experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should make an appointment with your urologist immediately.

There are treatments available for Peyronie’s Disease, depending on the severity. After your doctor has conducted an evaluation, he or she will determine which treatment is necessary, if any. Treatment can be as simple as a prescription or injections. Patients at Gulfshore Urology have shown significant improvements after taking Xiaflex, a drug produced by Auxilium.

Should these treatments not yield results, surgery may be considered to remove the plaque or alter the tissue opposite of it to counter the bend in the penis. However, this is only in extreme cases in which erectile dysfunction caused by this disease prevents the patient from engaging in sexual activity.

The healing process for Peyronie’s Disease takes time, and usually varies anywhere between six to eighteen months.

Prevention

Currently, there are no preventative measures established to avoid Peyronie’s Disease, as the exact cause is still unknown. However, researchers have found that a healthy, drug-free lifestyle with good diet and nutrition can help reduce your risk as can avoiding vigorous sexual activity that can cause major or microscopic injury to the penis.

  Rolando R. Rivera   Jan 13, 2016   Uncategorized   Comments Off on What is Peyronie’s Disease?   Read More