What Is Prostate CancerWhat Is Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Forward

In the U.S. approximately 320,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer. Approximately 1 out of 10 men will develop prostate cancer in his life. One of the misconceptions about prostate cancer is that it's an ?old man's disease.? The truth is that prostate cancer runs prevalent in men in their forties and fifties. Prostate cancer can also be present for years without causing any symptoms and is often not detected until it is in an advanced stage. It can grow within the prostate at different locations, sometimes escaping collected tissue samples. Worse yet, if the cancer cells leave the prostate they can spread and infect other organ tissues in the body which is not detectable without surgery, and at that time it is usually spread too far to cure.

The treatments itself has its own psychological and physical implications and may be damaging to the reproductive and urinary organs leading to impotence or loss of bladder control. Some treatments involve removing the prostate gland and/or testicles causing an imbalance in the hormone level and can lead to a loss of interest in sex and a sense of self.

What is the Prostate?

The prostate is a sex gland in men that is located in the abdomen below the bladder at the base of the penis in front of the rectum. It is normally about the size of a golf ball and wraps completely around the urethra, or the tube that runs from the bladder through the penis. What it does is manufacture prostatic fluid, an alkaline fluid which regulates the acidity of semen and protects it from the acids in the reproductive tract of the female. It also acts as a pump during the male orgasm forcing semen in the urethra and doubles as a valve directing both urine and sperm. Not vital organ to live but quite a vital organ for ?normal? life.

So what is Cancer?

Cancer is a term that doesn't describe a single disease but a group of diseases. These diseases do share one common trait though of uncontrolled cell growth and division. Cell growth and division are controlled by the DNA in each cell. Just about every cell in you body is in a continuous life and death cycle with new cells replacing the old (only exceptions is within the heart and brain) in a process called cellular replication. Normally, the cells in an adult generate just enough new cells to replace the old cells. Basically when a cell that behaves abnormally and ?cancerous? it doesn't stop replicating itself, causing abnormal growth and tumors. Cancerous cells stop performing their original specialized functions and become parasites in the body, consuming energy normally reserved for the normal cells. Cancer spreads when these cancer cells break away from the tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system. These cells can lodge themselves in another part of the body and continue to replicate causing new tumor growth. Cancer is defined by the place of origination, so if it originates in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer. If it spreads to other areas it is called metastatic prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer

Oddly though, prostate cancer is the one of the ?better? cancers to get. Cancers grow at different speeds and the time it takes for to double, or for the cells to increase by 100 percent. Prostate cancer is slow growing, taking years to replicate and double enough to cause symptoms. If it detected early enough it is treatable and there is an excellent chance it can be cured. Treatment techniques are also continually being refined to have less side effects and even if it has spread beyond curing, there are current therapies and drugs to extend life beyond five plus years.

For further information please visit the prostate cancer resource center.

by Neville Samson
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