The prostate gland is a crucial part of the male reproductive system. An exocrine gland, it is slightly larger in size than a walnut and is a compound gland, meaning that it is a gland with multiple ducts. Its duty in the reproductive system is to make an alkaline fluid that mixes with sperm in the testicles in order to create semen. In addition the prostate contains some smooth musculature to aid in the ejaculation process. Sitting just below the bladder, it surrounds the urethra and due to its proximity with the rectum, it can be felt during a rectal exam.
Prostate cancer is a disease that targets only men and it is only just coming to the forefront of discourse on men’s health. It commonly affects older men and it is one of the leading causes of death in elderly males in developed countries. The reason is that it generally tends to be a slow growing cancer with symptoms developing only in some patients.
Symptoms can include pain in the lower back and upper thighs, difficulty urinating, problems during sexual intercourse, or blood in the urine or semen. Detection rates are higher in industrialized countries in part due to broader social awareness of the disease and stronger and more easily available healthcare. It is the most common type of cancer in men and some men eventually die of the disease without ever knowing that they have it.
There are risk factors associated with this type of cancer and knowing them will help in the prevention of prostate cancer. Men fifty years and over should have regular prostate examples; normally as part of an annual physical exam. Genetics and diet may play a role in the development of the cancer. Prevention is based on early awareness of the cancer and treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy treatments.
Genetic inheritance of prostate cancer puts people who have had family die of the cancer at a higher risk of developing cancer. It is caused by a genetic mutation of genes; the exact mechanism is not yet fully understood, but it is believed that the mutations do not actually cause the answer; they put people at a higher developmental risk. This is why it is critical for these people to stay aware of any signs that may develop in relation to prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is one of the silent killers and most cases are preventable with early detection. Maintaining prostate health is paramount in preventing prostate cancer.