Prostate Cancer: Patient Education

Cancer Facts

According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.
  • About one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.
  • More than two million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive today.
  • Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind lung cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute:

  • African-American men have a higher incidence of prostate cancer and at least double the mortality rates compared with men of other racial groups.

Overview

Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in your prostate gland. The growing tumor can affect the function of your prostate as well as spread (metastasize) to other parts of your body.

The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It’s shaped like a walnut and is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It wraps around the urethra (the tube that carries urine through the penis).

The prostate gland performs these functions:

  • Produces a milky fluid that, during sex, mixes with sperm to make semen
  • Contains an enzyme that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which controls prostate growth

 The majority of prostate cancers:

  • Develop from gland cells, the cells that make prostate fluid; this type of cancer is called adenocarcinoma
  • Are slow growing
  • Do not spread (metastasize) beyond the prostate

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