Prostate Cancer

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About Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer is one of the most commonly occurring cancer types in men. If affects the prostate gland, which produces some of the fluid in semen and plays a role in urine control in men. This gland is located beneath the bladder and in front of the rectum.

Some important pointers about prostate cancer

  • The prostate gland is part of the male reproductive system.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
  • It is treatable if diagnosed early, before it spreads.
  • If symptoms appear, they include problems with urination.
  • Regular screening is the best way to detect it in good time.

Know more about Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a walnut-sized exocrine gland. This means that its fluids and secretions are intended for use outside of the body. The prostate makes the fluid that nourishes and transports sperm on their journey to fuse with a female ovum, or egg, and produce human life. The prostate contracts and forces these fluids out during orgasm.

The protein excreted by the prostate, prostate-specific antigen (PSA), helps semen retain its liquid state. An excess of this protein in the blood is one of the first signs of prostate cancer. The urethra is tube through which sperm and urine exit the body. It also passes through the prostate.

As such, the prostate is also responsible for urine control. It can tighten and restrict the flow of urine through the urethra using thousands of tiny muscle fibers.

Prostate Cancer starts in glandular cells and is known as adenocarcinoma. Minor changes take place in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells, known as prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). This tends to happen gradually and does not reveal symptoms until further into the progression.


There are generally no symptoms during the early stages of prostate cancer.

If symptoms appear, they usually involve one or more of the following:

  • frequent urges to urinate, including at night
  • difficulty commencing and maintaining urination
  • blood in the urine
  • painful urination and, less commonly, ejaculation
  • difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection may be difficult

Advanced prostate cancer can involve the following symptoms:

  • bone pain, often in the spine, femur, pelvis, or ribs
  • bone fractures

If cancer spreads to the spine and compresses the spinal cord, there may be:

  • leg weakness
  • urinary incontinence
  • fecal incontinence


A doctor will perform a physical examination and test about any existing medical history. If the patient has symptoms, or if a routine blood test shows abnormally high PSA levels, further examinations may be requested.

Tests may include:

  • a digital rectal examination (DRE), in which a doctor will manually check for any abnormalities of the prostate with their finger.
  • a biomarker test checking the blood, urine, or body tissues of a person with cancer for chemicals unique to individuals with cancer.

If these tests show abnormal results, further tests will include:

  • a PCA3 test examining the urine for the PCA3 gene only found in prostate cancer cells.
  • a transrectal ultrasound scan providing imaging of the affected region using a probe that emits sounds.
  • a biopsy, or the removal of 12 to 14 small pieces of tissue from several areas of the prostate for examination under a microscope.

These will help confirm the stage of the cancer, whether it has spread, and what treatment is appropriate.

To check any spread, or metastasis, doctors may use a bone, CT scan, or MRI scan.

Staging will consider the size and extent of the tumor and the scale of the metastasis. At Stage 0, the tumor has neither spread from the prostate gland nor entered deeply into it. At Stage IV, the cancer has spread to nearby regions and organs.

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