Is it time to have your prostate checked?
Let’s find out.

Gentlemen, check your engines.
Notice your body’s warning signs.

  • When you see a warning light on your vehicle’s dash, you know to bring it in to get checked out. It’s the same with your body. There are warning signs for prostate issues that indicate it’s time to make an appointment with Northshore Urological Associates.

  • But first, what is a prostate? It’s a walnut-sized gland in men located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds part of the urethra, which is the tube in the penis that carries urine from the bladder. It produces seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

  • As men age, the prostate naturally grows. The most common prostate issue for men over 50 is an enlarged prostate. And, about 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

Make an Appointment Now. Request an appointment online by completing the form below or call 985-230-7864.

  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
  • Please enter your zip code.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email address.
  • Please select an option.
  • Please select an option.

Look out for these warning signs.


As men age, the prostate naturally grows. By age 40, your prostate might have grown from the size of a walnut to the size of a golf ball. By 60, it might even be the size of a lemon. It’s important for men to schedule annual exams with a urologist beginning at age 50 to keep an eye on their prostate health because untreated issues could be damaging.

  • What is an enlarged prostate?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • Common signs and symptoms
  • What are the risk factors?
  • How is an enlarged prostate diagnosed?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What can you do to relieve symptoms?
  • What is an enlarged prostate?

    An enlarged prostate, or benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. When the prostate enlarges, it can block the urine flow. An enlarged prostate does not lead to or cause prostate cancer. This just means that the prostate gland is enlarged and can cause symptoms that can alter one’s quality of life.

  • What are the symptoms?

    The symptoms of an enlarged prostate are different for each man and tend to gradually worsen over time. The size of the prostate does not necessarily determine the severity of these symptoms. Untreated issues might lead to an obstruction of the urinary tract, which can be damaging.

  • Common signs and symptoms

    • Frequent or urgent need to urinate
    • Waking up at night to urinate
    • Difficulty starting urination
    • Weak urine stream or a stream that stops and starts
    • Incomplete bladder emptying
  • What are the risk factors?

    The cause of an enlarged prostate isn’t entirely clear. However, the prostate grows in response to testosterone. So, a man in his 60s has had more exposure to testosterone than a man in his 30s and might develop an enlarged prostate.

    The risk factors for developing an enlarged prostate are:

    • Aging: About 1/3 of men experience moderate to severe symptoms by age 60 and about half do so by age 80.
    • Weight: Obese men have an increased risk of developing an enlarged prostate.
    • Diabetes and Heart Disease: Men with diabetes and those treating heart disease with beta blockers may have a higher risk.
    • Family History: A blood relative, such as a father or a brother, with prostate issues means you are more likely to experience issues.
  • How is an enlarged prostate diagnosed?

    During your appointment, your urologist will ask detailed questions about the symptoms you are experiencing and perform a physical exam and screenings. For the physical exam, a digital rectal exam, or DRE, is performed. This is where the urologist inserts a finger into the rectum to measure the size of the prostate. This exam can be uncomfortable, but it usually isn’t painful and only takes seconds. Other screenings might include a urine test to see if there is an infection; a blood test to see if there are kidney issues; a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to determine if something else is wrong in the prostate.
  • What are the treatment options?

    The best treatment for you depends on several factors: the size of your prostate, your age, your overall health, and the amount of discomfort you are experiencing.

    Standard treatment for an enlarged prostate typically starts with medication, which relaxes the prostate so urine can flow out more easily. If medications fail or if a patient is unable to take the medications, sometimes surgery is needed.

    Other treatment options might be surgical procedures like a transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, which is done with a scope, or an open/robot-assisted prostatectomy, where the surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen to reach the prostate and removes tissue.

  • What can you do to relieve symptoms?

    • Limit beverages 1-2 hours before bedtime.
    • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption.
    • Go to the bathroom when you feel the urge because waiting too long can overstretch the bladder and cause damage.
    • Stay active because even a small amount of exercise can help reduce urinary problems.
    • Practice double voiding, which is when you urinate—then urinate again moments later.


Prostate Cancer can be a serious condition, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. When detected early and still confined to the prostate gland, chances of curing the cancer are high. Here are the facts.

  • What are the risk factors?
  • What are the symptoms?
  • How is a patient diagnosed?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • How is life after prostate cancer?
  • What are the risk factors?

    It is not clear what causes prostate cancer, but we do know what factors can increase your risk of prostate cancer. In addition to elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels above 4, risk factors include:
    • Age: Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age.
    • Family History: If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk is increased.
    • Race: African American men are at greater risk, and the cancer is likely to be more aggressive.
  • What are the symptoms?

    Prostate cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Symptoms usually do not occur until the cancer advances and spread outside the prostate gland.

    If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to call your urologist.

    • Problems urinating such as a slow or weak stream or the need to urinate more often, especially at night
    • Blood in your urine or semen
    • Trouble getting an erection
    • Persistent pain in your hips, back or other boney areas.
  • How is a patient diagnosed?

    According to the American Urological Association, men should have a PSA screening between the age of 55-69 and even earlier if there is a family history of prostate cancer or if you’re African American. If men have a PSA level between 4 and 10, they have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer. If the PSA is more than 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is 50%.

    A digital rectal exam or DRE is also performed. This is where a urologist inserts a finger into the rectum to feel for any bumps or hard areas on the prostate that might be cancer. This exam can be uncomfortable, but it usually isn’t painful and only takes a few seconds.

    If your PSA test or DRE is abnormal, a prostate biopsy may be done to determine whether cancer cells are present.

    We utilize advanced imaging known as MRI Fusion to more effectively and proactively detect prostate cancer. For the right patient this therapy could be the most accurate and efficient way to biopsy the most suspicious areas in the prostate, utilizing a hybrid, high resolution imaging and targeting system called Artemis Profuse BX.

  • What are the treatment options?

    Prostate cancer is graded on a Gleason score. Depending on your Gleason score and staging, your urologist will develop a specialized treatment plan with you.

    Treatment options for localized prostate cancer, which means still contained within the prostate include:

    • Active Surveillance: This might include monitoring PSA levels, routine DREs, prostate MRI or repeat biopsies.
    • Radiation Therapy: This might include brachytherapy or external beam radiation administered by a radiation oncologist.
    • Prostate Removal Surgery: This is known as radical prostatectomy and is performed using the da Vinci robot.

    If the cancer spreads further and is in your bones, androgen deprivation therapy, which is a simple injection administered at scheduled intervals, may be recommended.

  • How is life after prostate cancer?

    The majority of prostate cancer patients will not die from this disease. After treatment, you can return to doing what you love. Your urologist will develop a care plan with you, which includes regular follow-up exams and testing. Your PSA levels must be monitored for the rest of your life. So it’s important to continue seeing your urologist after you’ve completed treatment.

Jimmy's Story

  • "A former high school shot put champ, college football player, coach and Army lieutenant, Jimmy Barrilleaux had always been strong and healthy – until a routine visit to his primary care doctor showed his PSA levels were high. He was then referred to urologists at Northshore Urological Associates. After 12 biopsies displayed cancer, Dr. Graham discussed both surgery and radiation as accepted therapies for prostate cancer treatment. Barrilleaux and Bonnie, his wife of 44 years, agreed to attack the cancer with the same tenacity he exhibited as an athlete and soldier, and they elected to have the robotic surgery."

  • "The da Vinci robotic surgery was performed by Dr. Lake, who is trained in the da Vinci Surgical System, and he was assisted by Dr. Graham. “Mr. Jimmy’s surgery was a little tougher than most due to the size of his prostate,” Dr. Lake explains. “But we took our time and were able to deliver him a great surgery with a speedy recovery.”"

  • "Following two days in the hospital, a resilient Barrilleaux returned to his part-time job at Ross Downing Cadillac two weeks later. Today, he has beat cancer and has regular six-month check-ups with Dr. Lake. He spends much of his time with Bonnie and his four children, 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. “Mr. Jimmy is doing fantastic and is cancer free. He is enjoying life knowing his cancer has been taken care of,” Dr. Lake observes. “He has no side effects from surgery and tells me every visit how pleased they have been through the entire process.”"

  • "Both Barrilleauxs agree that the support of family and friends was vital in helping him through the dark days. A cancer diagnosis also affects family members and friends so understanding the lifestyle changes and treatment is part of the healing process. Because of the family history, the Barrilleauxs have encouraged their son to get regular check-ups. They agree that “staying on top of it” and awareness are the keys to early detection."

  • Get to Know Dr. Graham

  • Get to Know Dr. Lake

  • Get to Know Kim Marcel

Meet Our Team

  • Stephen M. Graham, MD

    Board Certified Urologist
    Trained in daVinci® Robotic Surgery

  • Brad M. Lake, MD

    Board Certified Urologist
    Trained in daVinci® Robotic Surgery

  • Kimberly L. Marcel, APRN, FNP-C

prev next

Our Locations

  • North Oaks Medical Office Plaza
    15770 Paul Vega, MD, Drive
    Suite 204
    Hammond, LA 70403
    Map & Directions [+]
  • North Oaks Livingston Parish Medical Complex
    17199 Spring Ranch Road
    Suite 210
    Livingston, LA 70754
    Map & Directions [+]