Your primary care doctor can diagnose and treat the majority of medical issues a man may have, but there are times when a specialist is needed. A urologist is one of those specialists that doctors refer men to when they are having a urologic problem that is ongoing or that may indicate the early signs of cancer.
There are also come common reasons why your doctor may feel you need the help of someone specializing in urology:
1: Blood In The Urine
Spotting blood in your urine can be scary, and it is not normal! You should inform your primary care doctor anytime you notice blood in your urine. This could be a something as simple as a kidney infection or a sign of kidney or bladder cancer. Your doctor will most likely send you to see a urologist for an examination. This often includes a variety of tests:
- Urine tests
- CT scan of the bladder
- X-ray of the bladder
- Cytoscopy (using a fiber optic scope to look in the bladder)
2: Testicular Pain
Testicular pain often prompts your doctor to also check for testicular masses. Masses, nodules, and firmness along with pain could indicate testicular cancer. If you have these symptoms, you should be examined by urologist. Even without masses, testicular pain that does not clear up in a couple of weeks should prompt you to see a urologist. Testicular cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer when caught early.
3: Abnormal Prostate Exam
Men age 40 and over should have a prostate exam each year. Your primary care doctor can conduct the exam. However, if he or she notices abnormalities, such as nodules, firmness, or other irregularities, you need to see a urologist. These irregularities may be the first signs of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer survival rates are higher when it is detected early.
Your urologist can schedule other procedures, such as a biopsy, to check for signs of cancer.
4: Kidney Abnormalities
If your doctor has noticed abnormalities of your kidneys on an x-ray, he or she must send you to a urologist for further procedures. Your doctor will likely assume that any abnormalities found in your kidneys are cancer unless tests prove otherwise. A urologist should examine you and conduct any further testing before you have a kidney biopsy.
Men often put off seeing their doctor for pain or other issues just to see if it goes away, but this is not smart. Since small symptoms, like blood in the urine or testicular pain, can be early warning signs of cancer, men need to report their urological problems to their primary care doctor, who can set up an appointment with a urologist when necessary. Contact a professional such as Dr. Matthew Bui with any questions or concerns you have.