The prostate gland, roughly the same size and shape as a walnut, is one of the glands involved in the male reproductive system. The prostate is involved in producing the fluid in which sperm is transported during the male orgasm. The prostate is located in front of the rectum and just below the bladder and the tube (called the “urethra”) that carries urine from the bladder out through the tip of the penis, runs through the prostate.
As with other areas of the body, cancer can also develop in the prostate. Cancer is a disease characterised by the uncontrolled growth and potential spread of abnormal cells. Cancerous cells can grow into a mass, called a tumour, some of which can be benign and others, malignant.
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among men. While not always, prostate cancer is usually diagnosed in men over the age of 65 and there is an increased risk of developing prostate cancer in men who have a family history of this disease.
Prostate cancer may have “localised” effects (such as interfering with urination) or “systemic” effects (by spreading through the blood and lymph vessels and invading and destroying normal body tissues in other areas of the body).
While this may vary, some symptoms associated with prostate cancer include:
- Blood in the urine
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Weak urinary stream
- Inability to urinate
- Interruption of urinary stream (stopping and starting)
Importantly, early stage prostate cancer often does not cause any symptoms at all and it is usually only detected by a rectal examination performed by a doctor during a routine medical examination. For this reason, regular routine physical examinations performed by a doctor are of vital importance.
Remember that early detection of prostate cancer can greatly affect the effectiveness of treatment, so speaking to your doctor can reduce your risk of developing serious illnesses.
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