About Prostate Cancer

The prostate is an accessory sex gland located below the urinary bladder which touches the wall of the rectum and encircles the urethra. The urethra, carrying urine and male sperm the entire length of the penis, passes through the prostate. A healthy prostate is a small, soft walnut-sized gland. It is not a vital organ, but it is important for reproduction. Its secretion is part of the ejaculate and increases sperm viability. During ejaculation it secretes an alkaline fluid that forms part of the semen. The prostate may become enlarged in elderly men known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

The prostate usually becomes enlarged during adolescence due to exposure to the male hormone testosterone and its more potent form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Most of the body’s cells are constantly dividing, maturing and dying in a tightly regulated process. The term “carcinoma” describes the condition of tissue where the regulation of cell growth is impaired and cells continue to divide perpetually and uncontrollably. However, unlike healthy cells, tumor cells survive much longer, and instead of dying they divide further, giving rise to new, abnormal cells. If prostate cells start to divide uncontrollably and form clusters, cancer of the prostate develops. Prostate cancer is usually indicated by the occurrence of very small tumor deposits scattered across the prostate. At this stage, the disease is curable (the recovery rate is more than 90%) using standard procedures, such as surgical removal of the prostate or radiation. The aim of these techniques is to remove or destroy any cancerous prostate cells.