Prostate gland is a small gland roughly about the size of the walnut. It is located at the neck of urinary bladder and surrounds urethra, the tube carrying the urine from the bladder out of the body. It produces a milky secretion that along with the secretions from the other gland called seminal vesicles forms part of the male semen.
Prostate cancer is the cancer to be diagnosed with the greatest frequency in males. However, talking about the number of deaths related to a cancer it comes second, with the first being lung cancer. It is difficult to diagnose prostate cancer at an earlier stage unless you go for a screening as initially it causes only a few or no symptoms.
Prostate Cancer Causes and Risk Factors
An increasing age, history of prostate cancer in family and being of African descent are the major factors found to increase the risk of prostate cancer.
The strong correlation between the increasing age and development of prostate cancer is obvious from the fact that around 80% of the prostate cancer is diagnosed in elderly males, usually above the age of 65.
History of Prostate Cancer in Family
The risk of prostate cancer is significantly increased if you have a family member such as father, or brother suffering from prostate cancer. Statistically speaking having one first degree relative in your family almost doubles your risk of developing cancer while having two or more such relatives increases the risk to about 5-10 folds.
Black males with an African descent are found to be at more risk of developing prostate cancer as compared to males from other ethnic backgrounds. The reason about this correlation is not yet clear though.
Men with obesity are likely to have a more aggressive and advanced prostate cancer with a poor prognosis as compared to the males with a normal BMI.
It is also very important here to address the false association between BPH and increased risk of prostate cancer. Remember, benign prostate hypertrophy occurring in elderly males is a completely separate entity and as opposed to common belief it does not increase your risk of developing prostate cancer.
The symptoms noted in the settings of prostate cancer are
- Problem initiating urination
- Painful urination
- Increased frequency of urination
- Blood in urine
- Problems with erection
Keep in mind here that most of these symptoms are also present in the settings of BPH and their presence by themselves does not confirm the diagnosis of a prostate cancer. The important take home point here is that in the presence of these symptoms you must immediately visit a doctor to rule out life-threatening prostate cancer.