On this page: You will find some basic information about Prostate Cancer disease and the parts of the body that may affect it. This is the first page of the Prostate Cancer Guide. Use the menu to view other pages.
About The Prostate:
The prostate is a walnut-sized gland behind the roots of the male penis, in front of the rectum and below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, a tubular passage that transports urine and semen through the penis. The main function of the prostate is to make semen, and the liquid in the semen can protect, support and help transport sperm.
As men age, the prostate expands over time. This can lead to a condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) when the urethra is blocked. BPH is a common condition associated with the elderly and can cause symptoms similar to prostate cancer. BPH is not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
When healthy cells in the prostate change and lose control, and the tumor is formed, cancer begins. Tumors can be cancerous or benign. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor means that the tumor can grow but does not spread.
Prostate cancer is somewhat unusual compared to other types of cancer. This is because many prostate tumors do not spread rapidly to other parts of the body. Some prostate cancers grow very slowly and may or may not cause symptoms or problems for many years.
Even if prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body, it can often be managed for a long time, even for men with advanced prostate cancer who can enjoy good health and quality of life for many years. However, if existing treatments do not control cancer well, it can cause symptoms such as pain and fatigue, sometimes leading to death. An important part of treating prostate cancer is monitoring whether it grows over time to determine whether it is growing slowly or rapidly. Depending on how you grow, your doctor can decide on the best treatment and when to give them.
About prostate-specific antigen (PSA)
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells in the prostate and released into the bloodstream. PSA levels were measured using a blood test. Although there is no “normal PSA” for any male at any given age, higher than normal levels of PSA can be found in men with prostate cancer. Other non-cancerous prostate diseases, such as BPH (see above) or prostatitis can also cause elevated levels of PSA. Prostatitis is inflammation or infection of the prostate. In addition, some activities such as ejaculation can temporarily increase the PSA level. This should be avoided before the PSA test to avoid erroneously raising the test. See the Filtering section for more information.
Histology is the appearance of cancer cells under a microscope. The most common histology found in prostate cancer is called adenocarcinoma. Other less common histological types include neuroendocrine prostate cancer and small cell prostate cancer. These rare variants tend to be more aggressive, produce less PSA, and spread out of the prostate earlier.