Prostate cancer develops in the walnut-sized prostate gland that makes and stores seminal fluid, a milky liquid that nourishes sperm.
The prostate gland helps regulate bladder control and normal sexual functioning. Prostate cancer develops when the cells in the prostate gland grow more quickly than they should, forming a malignant lump or tumour. Most prostate cancers grow slowly in comparison to other cancers and while the causes are unknown, fatty acids are believed to play a role.
The chance of developing prostate cancer increases with age, and if your father or brother have had the disease.
Occurring mainly in men over 65, prostate cancer affects more Australian men than any other type of cancer.
There are four main disorders of the prostate:
Prostatitis is a benign condition. It is caused by inflammation (swelling) of the prostate and is not cancerous. It can cause discomfort deep inside the pelvis – mostly when passing urine or with ejaculation though pain can also persist outside of these functions. If caused by an infection it may be treated with antibiotics.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) or enlargement (BHE) is quite common in older men. It is a benign condition.. Some enlargement of the prostate is usual in most men from age 50 onwards. Therefore, although BHP is quite common – though not life threatening- it may need to be treated. Treatment of BPH may require antibiotics, or, in more developed cases, an operation to widen the urethral passage.
Prostatodynia is a long standing or chronic prostate disease, it also not cancerous. There are usually no clear signs of infection or inflammation but there may be pain or discomfort in the pelvic region. Treatments include antibiotics, non –steroid anti-inflammatory agents, muscle relaxants and sometimes medications for chronic pain.
Prostate cancer is the only one of the four disorders that is potentially life-threatening. One of the most worrying aspects is that many prostate cancers develop without men experiencing any symptoms. Unlike BPH, prostate cancer cells eventually break out of the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes, producing secondary tumours, a process known as metastasis.