Prostate Problem Guide
10 Commonly Asked Prostate Cancer Questions
Question 1. What is the prostate gland?
The prostate gland forms part of the male reproductive system and makes and stores a clear fluid contained within semen. The gland is about the size of a walnut and lies between the rectum and the bladder, partially surrounding the urethra.
Question 2. What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the second commonest form of cancer in the United States today, coming in behind skin cancer. In 2006 some 235,000 men in the US were diagnosed with prostate cancer and approximately 27,000 men died of the disease.
Prostate cancer is frequently slow growing and, in the majority of cases, develops quite late in life. For this reason, many men despite having prostate cancer die from other unrelated causes.
Question 3. Who is at risk from prostrate cancer?
All men are at risk of contracting prostrate cancer although the disease is age related and so it is more likely to appear the older you get. Prostate cancer is also more likely to appear in black men and in men with a family history of the disease.
There are also significant differences in the instances of the condition between countries with the United States having the highest incidence and Japan the lowest. Although these differences are not fully understood it is thought that diet may play an important part.
Question 4. What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
In many cases men have prostate cancer for many years without any symptoms at all. However when symptoms become evident they are likely to include the need for frequent urination (especially during the night), a weak flow or urine which will often stop and start, difficulty starting urination, pain when urinating, traces of blood in the urine or semen, painful ejaculation and frequent pain in the lower back and in the hips or upper thighs.
Question 5. What other conditions display similar symptoms?
It is very common for the prostate gland to become enlarged in older men putting pressure on the urethra and interfering with the flow of urine and with sexual function. This condition is a benign condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH.
Similar symptoms to those experienced with prostate cancer can also result from a prostate infection known as prostatitis which causes inflammation of the prostate.