About The Prostate

Welcome! You are here because you want to learn more about the prostate and prostate cancer. The information below will provide you with a basic background to facilitate a conversation with your physician.

What Is The Prostate?

The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system, which includes the penis, prostate, and testicles. The prostate is about the size and shape of a walnut. It sits low in the pelvis, below the bladder and just in front of the rectum. The prostate helps make semen, the milky fluid that carries sperm from the testicles through the penis when a man ejaculates.

The prostate surrounds part of the urethra, a tube that carries urine out of the bladder and through the penis.

Because the prostate gland tends to grow larger with age, it may squeeze the urethra and cause problems in passing urine. Sometimes men in their 30s and 40s may begin to have these urinary symptoms and need medical attention. For others, symptoms aren’t noticed until much later in life. An infection or a tumor can also make the prostate larger.

Growing older raises your risk of prostate problems. The three most common prostate problems are:

– Inflammation (prostatitis)
– Enlarged prostate (BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia)
– Prostate cancer

One change does not lead to another. For example, having prostatitis or an enlarged prostate does not increase your risk of prostate cancer. It is also possible for you to have more than one condition at the same time.

Most prostate changes are not cancer.

For further reading…

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Understanding Prostate Changes: A Health Guide for Men

Understanding Prostate Changes is a health guide for men. It has information about prostate cancer symptoms, risk factors, and the PSA screening test. Other prostate conditions, such as BPH and prostatitis, are also discussed.

This health guide answers questions you may have about prostate-related conditions:

  • What are signs and symptoms of prostate-related conditions and changes?
  • What causes these signs and symptoms?
  • What lifestyle changes may help men feel better?
  • What are risk factors for prostate cancer?
  • What do we know about preventing prostate cancer?
  • What is the PSA test? What causes PSA levels to rise or fall?
  • What medical tests and procedures are used to diagnose and treat prostate conditions?

Also included are tips to help you prepare for your doctor’s visit, questions to ask your doctor, medical images, and a list of prostate-related organizations and resources.

The information in this booklet was last updated in August 2011.

Learn more at cancer.gov…

Stay Healthy

Many cancer deaths could be prevented by making healthy choices like not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating right, keeping active, and getting recommended screening tests. In this section you can learn how to help lower your chances of getting cancer, plus what screening tests the American Cancer Society recommends, and when.

Learn more at cancer.org…

What Is Prostate Cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer. Except for skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.

Different people can exhibit different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men might exhibit no symptoms.

Some symptoms of prostate cancer are—

  • Difficulty starting urination.
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
  • Pain or burning during urination.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.
  • Painful ejaculation.

If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away. Keep in mind that these symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer. (from CDC.gov)

For further reading…

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The prostate gland makes fluid that forms part of semen. The prostate lies just below the bladder in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis and out of the body).

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States, after skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men. Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in white men. African-American men with prostate cancer are more likely to die from the disease than white men with prostate cancer.

Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Prostate cancer often has no early symptoms. Advanced prostate cancer can cause men to urinate more of
ten or have a weaker flow of urine, but these symptoms can also be caused by benign prostate conditions.

Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly. Most men with prostate cancer are older than 65 years and do not die from the disease. Finding and treating prostate cancer before symptoms occur may not improve health or help you live longer. Talk to your doctor about your risk of prostate cancer and whether you need screening tests.

Go to NIH for more information…

Diseases and Conditions – Prostate Cancer

mayologoProstate cancer is cancer that occurs in a man’s prostate — a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Read more at mayoclinic.org…

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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American men. Most prostate cancers grow slowly, and don’t cause any health problems in men who have them.

A prostate specific antigen (PSA) test may find a prostate health problem, but treatment can cause serious side effects. Learn about prostate cancer and talk to your doctor before you decide to get tested or treated for prostate cancer.

Learn more at CDC.org…

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Understanding Prostate Cancer: NUTRITION & WELLNESS

Leading researchers in the field continually discuss and explore the effects of dietary and lifestyle changes on the development and progression of prostate cancer.

Which foods and nutrients have been shown to benefit men with prostate cancer? How reliable are the data for nutritional strategies in prostate cancer? Are there foods or nutrients that might prevent prostate cancer or even prevent or delay a recurrence of the disease?

Here are some resources to help you answer these questions:

Nutrition, Exercise and Prostate Cancer Guide

By culling data from published literature, this guide offers a comprehensive yet concise overview of where we are today in the search for nutritional approaches to prostate cancer—and reminds us how much more we have yet to learn about how key nutritional strategies can affect the development and progression of this disease.

The Taste for Living Cookbook and The Taste for Living WORLD Cookbook contain recipes that chef Beth Ginsberg created for prostate cancer survivor Mike Milken, who also serves as chairman of PCF.

Each month, chef and PCF consultant Beth Ginsberg provides PCF website visitors and NewsPulse subscribers with recipes, nutrition tips, and menu ideas. From how to eat at the airport to creating full menus, this information is designed to give your diet and the foods you eat a healthy update. Search our database of recipes or browse by category.

Learn more at PCF.org…

How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

Men who report prostate symptoms often undergo a couple of simple tests to help doctors determine the nature of the problem.

The digital rectal exam (DRE) is a relatively simple test to check the prostate. Because the prostate is an internal organ, your doctor cannot look at it directly. But because the prostate lies in front of the rectum, he or she can feel it by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood. For this test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood.

If your prostate specific antigen (PSA) test or digital rectal exam (DRE) is abnormal, doctors may do more tests to find or diagnose prostate cancer.

A PROSTATE BIOPSY is often the next step…

Prostate Biopsy: TRANSRECTAL vs. TRANSPERINEAL

Each year nearly one million prostate biopsies are performed. There are two physical pathways to access the prostate for tissue samples- 1. via the rectum (TRANSRECTAL) or 2. via the perineum, the area between the anus and the scrotum (TRANSPERINEAL).

Prostate Biopsy Using the TRANSRECTAL Path

For over 30 years the transrectal path has been the standard method to biopsy the prostate.

Because this technique obtains prostate tissue samples through the rectal wall it is possible to introduce fecal material and bacteria into the prostate.

Due to increased rates of antibiotic-resistant bacteria  the risk of infection after the prostate biopsy has risen dramatically. Over the past 10 years the risk of infection has approached 6% and the risk of hospitalization due to sepsis has reached 3%.

An additional drawback of this approach is the relative difficulty in accessing certain zones of the prostate where cancer is sometimes found.

Infectious complications and false negative results are of paramount concern with the TRANSRECTAL method. 

Now there is a better way…

Prostate Biopsy Using the TRANSPERINEAL Path

By passing the biopsy needle through the perineum instead of the rectum, the risks associated with the transrectal approach are avoided.

Using the TRANSPERINEAL method in a freehanded, constant ultrasound-supervised technique allows the surgeon to maintain accurate sampling of all zones of the prostate while at the same time avoiding the coliform bacteria responsible for infections.

The TRANSPERINEAL method offers the distinct advantages of minimizing, or even eliminating, the risk of infection while maximizing the cancer detection rate.

The PrecisionPoint™ Transperineal Access System is facilitating the transition to the TRANSPERINEAL method.