For information on cancer
that has come back or spread to other parts of the body, see the topic
Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic.
Prostate cancer is the
abnormal growth of cells in a man's
prostate gland . The prostate sits just below the bladder. It makes part of the
semen. In young men, the prostate is about the size of
a walnut. As men age, the prostate usually grows larger.
cancer is common in men older than 65. It usually grows slowly and can take
years to grow large enough to cause any problems. As with other cancers, treatment for prostate cancer works best when the cancer is found early. Often, prostate cancer that has spread responds to treatment. Older men who have prostate cancer usually die from other causes.
Experts don't know what causes
prostate cancer, but they believe that your age, family history (genetics), and
race affect your chances of getting it. What you eat, such as foods high in
fats, may also play a part.
Prostate cancer usually
doesn't cause symptoms in its early stages. Most men don't know they have it
until it is found during a regular medical exam.
When problems are
noticed, they are most often problems with urinating. But these same symptoms
can also be caused by an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). An enlarged prostate is common in older men.
See your doctor for a checkup if:
- You have urinary problems, such as:
- Not being able to urinate at all.
- Having a hard time starting or stopping the flow of urine.
- Having to urinate often, especially at night.
- Having pain or burning during urination.
- You have difficulty having an erection.
have blood in your urine or semen.
- You have deep and frequent pain in your lower back, belly, hip, or
The most common
way to check for prostate cancer is to have a
digital rectal exam, in which the doctor puts a
gloved, lubricated finger in your rectum to feel your prostate, and a
prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. A higher
level of PSA may mean that you have prostate cancer. But it could also mean
that you have an enlargement or infection of the prostate.
PSA is high, or if your doctor finds anything during the rectal exam, he or she
may do a
prostate biopsy to figure out the cause. A biopsy means that your
doctor takes tissue samples from your prostate gland and sends them to a lab