The prostate is a walnut shaped gland located just under the bladder and in front of the rectum, and surrounds the upper part of the urethra (the tube that carries the urine from the bladder). As a man gets older, the prostate can enlarge and result in urinary problems.
Conditions and Diseases of the Prostate:
- Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)
This condition means excessive growth of the prostate. As the prostate gets larger, it squeezes the urethra (the tube that carries the urine). This reduces the urine flow and makes urination difficult. This is NOT cancer, but a man can have both BPH and prostatic cancer
When the prostate is infected or irritated, it can react by swelling. Many times, a bacterial infection causes this inflammation. The swollen prostate can squeeze the urine tube and make urination difficult or painful. The inflammation may also cause lower back or abdomonal pain.
Prostate cancer results from abnormal and uncontrolled growth of tissue cells.
Facts about Prostate Cancer
- Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in American men.
- Prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer as the most common cause of cancer death in men.
- Many prostate cancer deaths can be prevented through regular screening.
- There are usually no early signs of prostate cancer.
- Difficulty urinating.
- A weak stream of urine.
- Frequent urge to urinate, especially at night.
- Pain or burning on urination.
- Blood in the urine.
Beginning at age 50 (40 if the man is African American or has a family history of prostate cancer), ALL men should have an annual digital rectal examination and a blood test for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). Further testing is done if the test results are high.
Risk factors for prostate cancer:
- Age over 50.
- African American.
- Family history.
- Having a high fat diet.
A risk factor is something that increases a person's chance of getting cancer. Risk factors alone do not necessarily cause cancer.