Prostate Cancer

What is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a gland found in men located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. It is about the size of a walnut and encircles the urethra, where seminal fluid and urine pass through the penis.

Prostate Cancer is a disease that affects this gland with abnormal cell growth that eventually develops into a tumor. The condition is among the most common cancers to affect American men. The mass may be malignant or benign, and it can grow very slowly over many years without causing any symptoms. This cancer is unique in that it does not always spread to other areas of the body.

What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Often diagnosed in the later stages, indications of prostate cancer may include:

  • Discomfort when sitting
  • Weak/interrupted urine flow
  • Straining to empty the bladder
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in seminal fluid and/or urine
  • Frequent urge to go during the night
  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Recent onset of erectile dysfunction

It is important to remember that numerous noncancerous conditions, such as BPH and urinary infections, can create similar symptoms. Likewise, some men may not experience any of these. The best way to know for certain is to be tested.

If the cancer has spread elsewhere, patients might notice:

  • Swelling of the legs or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain in other areas (thighs, back, hips, shoulders, etc.)
  • Change in bowel movements

How is Prostate Cancer Treated?

Options vary depending on several factors: location and size of the tumor, the patient’s overall health, and if the cancer has spread.

If caught early, close monitoring may be recommended with treatment beginning if there are indications of the cancer beginning to spread, blocking the urinary tract, or causing pain.In other cases, treatment may include hormone therapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. For later-stage tumors, chemotherapy and vaccine therapy might also be used.

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Last Reviewed:
September 14, 2016
Last Updated:
August 25, 2017