The prostate is a reasonably small gland that is roughly the the same size as a walnut and is located under the bladder and just in front of the rectum. The prostate is a very important gland that produces the liquid that helps to carry male sperm.
A very significant problem which can strike the prostate gland is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is a serious and life-threatening condition which currently strikes approximately ten percent of all men and is the second commonest cause of cancer related death in men nowadays.
Just how does prostate cancer begin?
Prostate cancer begins as a malignant tumor growing in the prostate gland which, if not treated, is likely to spread into the nearby tissue and organs and into the bone and lymph nodes. What are the risk factors involved?
Nearly three-quarters of people suffering from prostate cancer are over the age of 65.
Men who have close blood relatives like a grandfather or father who have contracted prostate cancer are eleven times more likely to develop prostate cancer.
The death rate in men with prostate cancer rises with weight and is especially high in obese men.
Caucasian men are more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer than men of African decent.
Is there anything I can do to stop myself from contracting prostate cancer?
In reality there is nothing which you can do to stop yourself from developing prostate cancer although some people are convinced that following a healthy diet can reduce the possibilities. At present there is little if any evidence to support this view.
Diagnosing prostate cancer.
There are a few tests for prostate cancer including the PSA test, a digital rectal exam and a biopsy.
The PSA test measures the level of a prostate specific antigen in the bloodstream. High PSA levels are not an indication of prostate cancer but are a marker for possible problems that ought to be investigated further.
The digital rectal exam requires your physician to put on a glove and place a lubricated finger into the anus so that he can feel the prostate gland looking for signs of enlargement or irregularity.
In the case of a prostate biopsy your doctor will take several tissue samples from your prostate gland which will then be checked under a microscope for signs of abnormal cells.