Straight Talk on Men’s Prostate Health with Internal Medicine Specialist Dr. Alex Mosteanu
Ionut (Alex) Mosteanu, M.D.
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The vast majority of women will not be shocked to learn that men are 50 percent less likely to see a physician than women; some because of the stereotypical idea that "real men don't get sick." That "macho" attitude, however, is one convincing reason that has contributed to the fact that men live shorter lives.
"At some point in their lives, most men will be affected by prostate problems," said Dr. Ionut (Alex) Mosteanu, an internal medicine specialist and physician member of the Western Connecticut Medical Group. "With early detection and treatment, though, it's a battle they can win."
Despite its walnut size and weight of just an ounce, the prostate plays a prominent role in a man's urinary and sexual health. "If the prostate is enlarged for any reason, it can press on the urethra and cause urinary problems, said Dr. Mosteanu." "Symptoms of prostate disease include pain, burning and difficulty in urinating; blood in the urine or semen; painful ejaculation; and lower back pain."
The three most common problems associated with the prostate are:
- Prostatitis (inflamed prostate usually caused by bacterial infection),
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH (enlarged prostate due to hormonal changes with aging), and
- Prostate cancer
Prostate tumors are often slow-growing and highly treatable. However, Dr. Mosteanu said, "patients' sometimes experience no symptoms until the cancer has spread." Thus, he emphasized, "early detection by your doctor is vitally important."
According to the American Cancer Society, current screening guidelines recommend a digital rectal exam (DRE) once a year after age 40 or earlier for men with symptoms. Although some men consider this test embarrassing, it is a quick, simple procedure that could save your life. A PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test is another way you can look for prostate cancer. "Men need to discuss the benefits of such testing with their doctor, as this should be done on an individual basis," said Dr. Mosteanu. "It is usually not recommended before age 50, unless there is a family history of prostate problems."
"If you have a positive DRE or PSA, your doctor may order a biopsy to determine if cancer is involved in your prostate symptoms," said Dr. Mosteanu. Treatments for prostatitis and BPH include a low-fat diet and medications. For prostate cancer, chemotherapy, surgery and radiation may be recommended. But sometimes, all that is needed is watchful waiting for slow-growing tumors in men over 70. "Your doctor will help you determine which treatment is right for you," added Dr. Mosteanu.
Women play a necessary role in men's health and well-being by finding a doctor they know they would be comfortable with, or make the appointment and go with them if they have a tendency to skip or completely disregard a serious health symptom that should be checked out.
For more information on prostate health services offered by Western Connecticut Health Network, please call 1-800-516-4743. If you need a physician referral, call 1-800-516-3658, or search the online Find a Doctor tool to find a physician near you.
About Western Connecticut Health Network
Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the two hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes the following affiliates:
- Western Connecticut Medical Group, an integrated physician practice with primary and specialty care expertise
- Western Connecticut Home Care, an agency for home care and community health services
- The Western Connecticut Health Network Foundations
- emergency medical and Level II trauma services
- an occupational wellness and medicine program, providing services for business and industry
- a nationally renowned Biomedical Research Institute
Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in women's health, cardiovascular and cancer services; minimally invasive joint and spine surgery; digestive disorders, weight-loss (bariatric) surgery, and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for neonatology with a Level IIIb neonatal intensive care unit and accredited sleep disorder centers. Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns. Danbury Hospital was named a Top 100 Hospital by US News and World reports in 2012; a and a Top 100 for Value by Cleverly and Associates. New Milford Hospital is well known as a Planetree hospital and for its Plow to Plate, farm to table food program.
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