Conditions InDepth: Prostate Cancer
The Male Urogenital System
The prostate produces seminal fluid, which is needed to keep sperm healthy. The prostate releases the seminal fluid into the urethra where it combines with sperm to make semen. Normally, the cells of the prostate divide in a regulated manner. However, if cells begin dividing in an unregulated manner, a mass of tissue forms. This mass is called a tumor. A tumor can be benign or malignant.
A benign tumor is not cancerous. It will not spread to other parts of the body. In many older men, the prostate enlarges in this benign manner, called
Cancer cells divide and damage tissue around them. They can enter the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body. This can be life threatening. Prostate cancer produces local symptoms by producing pressure on the bladder, urethra, and surrounding tissues. It also has a tendency to spread beyond the prostate gland to the bones.
According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 186,320 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. An estimated 28,660 men will die of this condition.
With proper screening, prostate cancer can be detected early. And a variety of treatment options is available.
Detailed guide: prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/ . Accessed October 9, 2008.
Prostate cancer. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org . Published February 2004. Accessed October 9, 2008.
Prostate cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate . Accessed October 9, 2008.
Last reviewed June 2008 by
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