The prostate gland is only found in men. It sits just below the bladder, close to the rectum (back passage). 1 in 14 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. It is the most common cancer in men. Unlike many other cancers, prostate cancers are often present for years without a man or his doctor knowing about it. This is because they are usually slow growing and do not cause any symptoms at all during a man’s lifetime. The causes of prostate cancer are not known, but some factors seem to affect your chances of developing the disease:
Age - prostate cancer is rare in men under 50 years of age. Your risk increases as you get older; Having relatives who have had prostate cancer. If a close relative has encountered the disease roughly double your risk of developing it;
African-American and African-Caribbean men seem to be more at risk than other ethnic groups; Exposure to cadmium and x-rays increases the risk of prostate cancer.
Cancers that are completely contained within the prostate gland are known as early prostate cancer. Men with early prostate cancer may not have any symptoms at all. Prostate cancers usually only cause symptoms when they are large enough to press on the urinary tube or disturb the bladder. Symptoms include:
- Pain or difficulty when passing urine;
- Passing urine more frequently than usual, especially at night; and
- Rarely, blood in the urine or sperm.
There are several treatments to prostate cancer, such as:
- External beam radiotherapy which is high energy rays used to destroy cancer cells and
- Radical Prostatectomy, which is a major surgical operation to remove the whole prostate gland.