The prostate is a small walnut shaped gland in the pelvis of men. It is located next to the bladder and can be examined by getting a digital rectal exam.
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate gland.
Growths in the prostate can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).
Benign growths (like benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH):
- Are rarely a threat to life
- Don't invade the tissues around them
- Don't spread to other parts of the body
- Can be removed and can grow back very slowly (but usually don't grow back)
Malignant growths (prostate cancer):
- May sometimes be a threat to life
- Can spread to nearby organs and tissues (such as the bladder or rectum)
- Can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body (like lymph nodes or bone)
- Often can be removed but sometimes grow back
Prostate cancer cells can spread by breaking away from a prostate tumor. They can travel through blood vessels or lymph nodes to reach other parts of the body. After spreading, cancer cells may attach to other tissues and grow to form new tumors, causing damage where they land.
When prostate cancer spreads from its original place to another part of the body, the new tumor has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary (original) tumor. For example, if prostate cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually prostate cancer cells. The disease is metastatic prostate cancer, not bone cancer.
In its early stages, prostate cancer often has no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they can be like those of an enlarged prostate or BPH. Prostate cancer can also cause symptoms unrelated to BPH.
If you have urinary problems, talk to your Urologist about them.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can be:
- Dull pain in the lower pelvic area
- Frequent urinating
- Trouble urinating, pain, burning, or weak urine flow
- Blood in the urine (Hematuria)
- Painful ejaculation
- Pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Bone pain