The prostate gland is a gland found exclusively in men. It is a part of the male reproductive system, its primary function being to make semen. It is located just in front of the rectum and under the urinary bladder. A healthy prostate gland is about a walnut’s size. The growth of the prostate is determined by the testosterone, which is in turn secreted by the testicles (or the testes). It is normal for the prostate to increase in size as men age. Sometimes this can cause problems, especially with urination.
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate of the male reproductive system and spreads slowly. Prostate cancer is usually slow-growing and there are usually no symptoms until it becomes advanced. It is for that very reason, many men are not aware of their risk for prostate cancer until it develops and spreads. Therefore, if you are older than 50 years of age, regular consultations have to be organized with your doctor along with regular prostate examination.
However, in advanced prostate cancers, symptoms include unexplained weight loss, feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate, or pain in the lower back/pelvic area.
It is vitally important to understand prostate cancer or testicular cancer and how they differ.
Testicular cancer occurs in the testes, which are located in the scrotum underneath the penis. The testes basically produce the male sex hormones and sperm cells needed for reproduction. Whilst prostate cancer affects older men more, testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men.
Prostate cancer and testicular cancer occur in different parts of the body, and they affect men of different ages and races variably. However, both of these cancers are highly treatable and are rarely fatal as long as the cancer is detected early and has not spread to other parts of the body.
To determine the best form of management, men with prostate cancer are categorized as low, intermediate or high risk.
Your doctor, urologist and oncologist may suggest surgery if you have early stage prostate cancer, are healthy enough for undergoing surgery and expect to live longer than 7–10 years. The procedure is called a prostatectomy and aims to remove the cancer completely. This involves the removal of the prostate gland, and based on extent of involvement, even adjacent structures.
In more aggressive cases of cancer, the neighboring lymph glands also will have to be removed (the surgery is known as pelvic lymph node dissection).
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