What is prostate cancer?

The prostate is a walnut-sized male reproductive organ located in the pelvis, where it rests just under the bladder and wraps around the urethra, the tube that drains the bladder. The prostate produces fluid that nourishes and protects sperm.

Cancer of the prostate occurs when abnormal prostate cells reproduce in an uncontrolled fashion. Cancer of the prostate is a common cancer among older men. It is estimated that around 200,000 men develop this cancer every year in the Unites States (Source: ACS).

Prostate cancer shares many symptoms with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), which is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate, although BPH does not cause prostate cancer. Whether caused by cancer or BPH, prostate enlargement can interfere with the normal flow of urine and can lead to urinary hesitancy, dribbling, and incomplete bladder emptying. More advanced prostate cancers may cause blood in the urine and lower back or pelvic pain.

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and digital rectal exam are two important screening tests that can help detect prostate cancer before it starts. Once detected, a biopsy is taken of the cancer to determine its exact characteristics, including how aggressive the tumor is likely to be. Other tests are used to reveal the extent to which the cancer has spread. Treatments range from watchful waiting with careful follow-up for less aggressive cancers to combinations of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy for more aggressive or widespread cancers.

Prostate cancer is a serious disease. Although it rarely creates conditions that need to be evaluated in an emergency setting, tell your doctor right away if you suspect you may have prostate cancer. Seek prompt medical care if you notice changes in your urine flow or if you develop lower back pain or pelvic pain or notice blood in your urine.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

Many of the symptoms of prostate cancer are related to constriction of the urethra and involve changes in urine flow. Prostate cancer can also cause pain in the pelvis or lower back and blood in the urine. Cancer that has spread can cause additional symptoms based on the location of spread.... Read more about prostate cancersymptoms

CAUSES

What causes prostate cancer?

Cancer occurs when abnormal cells reproduce in an uncontrolled fashion. The specific cause of prostate cancer is not known, but several factors that increase the risk of developing cancer of the prostate have been identified.... Read more about prostate cancercauses

TREATMENTS

How is prostate cancer treated?

Treatment of prostate cancer begins with seeking regular medical care throughout your life. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to provide early screening tests. Regular medical care also provides an opportunity for your health care professional to promptly evaluate symptoms and your risks for developing prostate cancer.... Read more about prostate cancertreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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This Article is Filed Under: Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Enlarged Prostate