About Prostate Cancer
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Part of a man's reproductive system, the prostate is a gland that makes seminal fluid and is located in front of the rectum behind the base of the penis and under the bladder. The prostate surrounds the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen out of the penis.
A healthy prostate is about the size of a walnut. A prostate that becomes enlarged may squeeze the urethra and prevent the proper flow of urine from the bladder to the penis.
Understanding Prostate Cancer
Billions of cells do different jobs throughout the body. Normal cells grow, divide and organize in an orderly way. Cells die and are replaced by new cells continuously.
A tumor develops when cells in the body begin to divide and change without order or control. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably, a mass of tissue forms into a growth or tumor.
Prostate growths that are not cancerous are considered benign, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia or hypertrophy (BPH). BPH causes the prostate to push on the urethra and bladder, preventing the normal flow of urine.
Malignant prostate growths are cancerous and can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. The only sure way to know if a prostate growth is benign or malignant is to examine cells from the growth.
According to the National Cancer Institute, each year more than 186,000 American men learn they have prostate cancer, the second most common type of cancer among men. Despite being a common cancer among men, prostate cancer can also be one of the most treatable.
Screening and Diagnosis