What is Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate.
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It lies just below the bladder (the organ that collects and empties urine) and in front of the rectum (the lower part of the intestine). It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland makes fluid that is part of the semen.
Who Gets Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is found mainly in older men. Although the number of men with prostate cancer is large, most men diagnosed with this disease do not die from it.
Signs & Symptoms
- Weak or interrupted (“stop-and-go”) flow of urine
- Sudden urge to urinate
- Frequent urination (especially at night)
- Trouble starting the flow of urine
- Trouble emptying the bladder completely
- Pain or burning while urinating
- Blood in the urine or semen
- Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away
- Shortness of breath, feeling very tired, fast heartbeat, dizziness, or pale skin caused by anemia
Tests and Screenings
Digital rectal exam (DRE) is an exam of the rectum. The doctor or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved nger into the lower part of the rectum to feel the prostate for lumps or anything else that seems unusual.
Prostate-Specic Antigen (PSA) is a test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made mostly by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer. The level of PSA may also be high in men who have an infection or inammation of the prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH; an enlarged, but noncancerous, prostate).
What Are The Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer?
Anything that increases a person’s chance of developing a disease is called a risk factor. Risk factors for prostate cancer include the following:
- Being 50 years of age or older
- Having a family history of prostate cancer
- Eating a diet high in fat or drinking large amounts of alcoholic beverages
Ways to Prevent Prostate Cancer
Some risk factors for cancer can be avoided, but many cannot (for example, inheriting certain genes). Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer.
- Changing lifestyle or eating habits
- Avoiding things known to cause cancer
- Taking medicines to treat a precancerous condition or to keep cancer from starting
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