About Prostate Cancer
The prostate is an organ that secretes substances, like hormones, into the body. It’s found only in men and is about the size of a walnut. It lies just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate gland surrounds the tube through which urine flows and it produces fluid that makes up semen.
When something goes wrong with the turnover of cells in the body, a buildup of extra cells can form a mass, known as a growth or tumour. Growths can occur in the prostate and can be benign or malignant. Benign growths (such as benign prostatic hyperplasia) are rarely life threatening and can usually be removed.
Malignant growths can be dangerous and can spread and invade other parts of the body. Malignant growths can often be removed – but they sometimes grow back. South African men have a 1 in 24 lifetime risk of prostate cancer. In South Africa, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer in men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).
Whilst the actual cause of prostate cancer is unknown, several factors can increase your chance of being diagnosed. It’s mainly found in older men, has been shown to be the most prevalent form of cancer in white males in South Africa and is also becoming increasingly common in black men.
There are several signs and symptoms of prostate cancer and it’s important for men to be familiar with their bodies in order to identify problems early. In addition, prostate cancer screening can help detect prostate cancer before symptoms develop.