About Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located 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 produces fluid that is a part of semen.

Prostate cancer is found mainly in older men and almost all cases are prostate adenocarcinoma (cancer in the gland cells). There are other forms for prostate cancers as well (such as small cell carcinomas, sarcomas and transitional cell carcinomas) but they are extremely rare.

Age also increases the likelihood of benign prostatic hyperplasia, a condition in which the prostate gets bigger and blocks the urethra or bladder. This may cause difficulty in urination, can interfere with sexual function and may require medical intervention. The symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia or of other problems in the prostate may be similar to symptoms of prostate cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Symptoms of prostate cancer include:
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Frequent urination (especially at night)
  • Trouble urinating
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • A pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn't go away
  • Painful ejaculation

If your or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms, please contact your doctor for further evaluation, which may include a biopsy to diagnose for prostate cancer or condition.
Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Risk factors associated with prostate cancer include the following:
  • Age: Age is the main risk factor for prostate cancer. More than 70 percent of all prostate cancers occur in men over 65.
  • Race/Ethnicity: African-American males over 40 have the highest rate of prostate cancer and should consider screenings at age 40. Additionally, African-American men are more likely to die from prostate cancer than Caucasians. Prostate cancer also occurs more often in  Caribbean men of African ancestry.
  • Family History: Those with male relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer are more likely to get the disease themselves. Additionally, men with a first-degree relative (e.g. father, brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer are considered high risk and should consider screening beginning at age 40.
  • Diet: Studies suggest that men who eat a diet high in red meat or high-fat dairy may be at increased risk for prostate cancer.
  • Genetics: Some gene mutations have been linked to a higher prostate cancer risk, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations (which are also associated with higher breast and ovarian cancer risk in women.)
  • Inflammation: Some studies have shown that prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland) is linked to an increased prostate cancer risk.
Note that having one or more risk factors does not mean that a person will develop a prostate cancer.

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have prostate cancer, please contact your doctor for a medical examination.

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer or are looking for a  second opinion consultation about your treatment, find out more about  becoming a patient or contact us at 800-826-HOPE.
Sources: American Cancer Society and National Cancer Institute