Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is cancer in the male prostate

By Sarah Leavitt, Medical Research EditorLast modified: March 07, 2011

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a cancer that affects males and is commonly diagnosed in men over the age of 45. Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer following lung cancer and affects over 200,000 men every year.


What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a gland located around the uretha, the tube that allows urine to travel from the uretha to the penis. Prostate cancer is a collection of cancerous cells that collect as a tumor in the prostate gland.


How does prostate cancer develop?

Prostate cancer is one of the slowest growing cancers. Prostate cancer cells can develop in the prostate gland for years before any symptoms appear and may spread to surrounding areas before it is diagnosed.

Prostate cancer develops in men as they age. Over the age of 80, between 50-70% of men are believed to have prostate cancer whereas in men under 40, the figure is less than 1%.


What causes prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is primarily an age-related cancer. Testosterone, the male hormone, is believed to help the development of cancer cells in the prostate. By decreasing the level of testosterone in the body, doctors are able to slow the development of prostate cancer. Genetics are believed to increase the risk of prostate cancer if a family member has previously suffered from the condition but as yet, no prostate cancer gene has been identified. Environmental factors such as diet also play a role in prostate cancer development. Men who consume a diet high in fat and have a raised BMI are more susceptible to prostate cancer than those who maintain a low calorie, low fat diet.


What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer develops slowly and for most men the cancer remains symptomless for a number of years. Prostate cancer is frequently diagnosed in blood tests before symptoms develop.

The tumor of a patient with prostate cancer will feel like a small lump or nodule in the prostate gland. This tumor may be detected during a routine self-examination or a physician performed examination. Men often confuse the initial symptoms of prostate cancer with an enlarged prostate, a common condition that affects men as they age.

The symptoms of prostate cancer include:

    * Frequent urination
    * Difficulty urinating
    * Pain passing urine
    * Blood in urine or semen
    * Painful ejaculation
    * Erection difficulties


Treatment for prostate cancer

Treatment for prostate cancer usually includes surgery to remove the entire prostate gland. This is an invasive surgery, however removing the prostate gland can remove the cancer and prevent remission in 90% of cases when the cancer is diagnosed in the early stages while confined to the prostate.

Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be recommended for prostate cancer.

For treatment advice and diagnosis of prostate cancer, contact an oncologist.



Prostate cancer self-examination

Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer after lung cancer and affects over 20,000 men each year. There is a 90% chance of developing prostate cancer before the time a man reaches 80. Most common in males over the age of 45, prostate can be diagnosed in men of all ages. Learn how to perform a self-examination for prostate changes here.

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This article was written by the medical research team at does not intend for any of the information on this site to be regarded as medical advice - it is meant as a starting point for understanding treatment details and options before contacting a registered, licensed doctor. We advise all patients to seek medical advice from a doctor.
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