The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). It produces fluid that makes up a part of semen.
As a man ages, the prostate tends to increase in size. This can cause the urethra to narrow and decrease urine flow. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). It is not the same as prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer among American men. Prostate cancers usually grow slowly. Most men with prostate cancer are older than 65 and do not die from the disease.
Different men have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all. Some symptoms of prostate cancer are:
• Difficulty starting urination.
• Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
• Frequent urination, especially at night.
• Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
• Pain or burning during urination.
• Blood in the urine or semen.
• Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.
• Painful ejaculation.
Keep in mind that these symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer. Finding and treating prostate cancer before symptoms occur may not improve your health or help you live longer.
Treatment can include active monitoring with blood tests and physical exams, surgery, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, and other therapies that are still under investigation.
If you have any symptoms that concern you, see your doctor right away.