Prostate Cancer

Cancer of the prostate is a common form of cancer. The prostate is a male sex gland and is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate makes fluid that becomes part of the semen, the white fluid that contains sperm. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Prostate Cancer is found mainly in older men. As men age, the prostate may get bigger and block the urethra or bladder. This may cause difficulty in urination or can interfere with sexual functions. The condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), and although it is not cancer, surgery may be needed to correct it. The chance of recovery (prognosis) and choice of treatment depend on the stage of the cancer (whether it is just in the prostate or has spread to other places in the body) and the patient’s general health.

A doctor should be seen if symptoms appear. Often there are no symptoms of early cancer of the prostate. When examining a patient, a doctor will insert a gloved finger into the rectum (a rectal examination) to feel for lumps in the prostate. A special test called an Ultrasound, which uses sound waves to make a picture of the bladder, may also be done.

If the doctor feels anything that is not normal, he or she may need to take cells from the prostate and look at them under a microscope. The doctor will usually do this by putting a needle into the prostate to remove some cells. To get to the prostate, the doctor may put the needle through the rectum or through the space between the scrotum and the anus (the perineum). This is called a fine needle aspiration or a needle biopsy.

Causes & Prevention As with most cancers there are no clear cut causes. However the risks are increased by:

A diet high in animal fat and low in vitamin A related substances. Exposure to heavy metals particularly cadmium. Developing a sexually acquired infection particularly at a young age.