Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate.The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It lies just below the bladder (the organ that collects and empties urine) and in front of the rectum (the lower part of the intestine). It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland makes fluid that is part of the semen.
Prostate cancer is found mainly in older men. In the U.S., about 1 out of 5 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Signs of prostate cancer include a weak flow of urine or frequent urination.These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by prostate cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
- Weak or interrupted ("stop-and-go") flow of urine.
- Sudden urge to urinate.
- Frequent urination (especially at night).
- Trouble starting the flow of urine.
- Trouble emptying the bladder completely.
- Pain or burning while urinating.
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- Shortness of breath, feeling very tired, fast heartbeat, dizziness, or pale skin caused by anemia.
Tests that examine the prostate and blood are used to detect (find) and diagnose prostate cancer.The following tests and procedures may be used:
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: A test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer. PSA levels may also be high in men who have an infection or inflammation of the prostate or BPH (an enlarged, but noncancerous, prostate).
Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
- The patient’s age.
- Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
- Whether the patient has other health problems.
- The expected side effects of treatment.
- Past treatment for prostate cancer.
- The wishes of the patient.