The prostate is a small gland located underneath the bladder in men and is part of the reproductive system. Some men develop prostate cancer, generally later in life. If cancer develops on your prostate gland, it will likely grow slowly. In rare cases, the cancer cells may be more aggressive, grow quickly, and spread to other areas of your body. The earlier your doctor finds and treats the tumor, the higher the chances are of finding curative treatment.
Like all types of cancer, the exact reason of prostate cancer isn’t easy to determine. In many cases, multiple factors may be involved, including genetics and exposure to environmental toxins, like certain chemicals or radiation.
Ultimately, mutations in your DNA, or genetic material, lead to the growth of cancerous cells. These mutations cause cells in your prostate to start growing uncontrollably and abnormally. Abnormal or cancerous cells continue to grow and divide until a tumor develops.
As indicated by the rates of diagnosis, age is the biggest—but not the only—risk factor for prostate cancer. Other important factors include:
- Family history
- Genetic factors
- Dietary habits
There’s no known cause for prostate cancer. Like all cancers, it could be caused by many things, including a family history or exposure to certain chemicals. Whatever the instigating factor is, it leads to cell mutations and uncontrolled cell growth in the prostate.
While prostate cancer could happen in any man, certain factors raise your risk for the disease. These risk factors include:
- older age
- a family history of prostate cancer
- certain ethnicities or race — for instance, African American males are at greater risk of having prostate cancer
- genetic changes
Symptoms of prostate cancer
Urinary problems are a common symptom because the prostate is located beneath the bladder, and it surrounds the urethra. Because of this location, if a tumor grows on the prostate, it could press on the bladder or urethra and reason problems.
Urinary problems can include:
- frequent need to urinate
- a stream that’s slower than normal
- bleeding while urinating (hematuria)
Erectile dysfunction may be a symptom of prostate cancer. Also called impotence, this situation makes you unable to get and keep an erection. Blood in the semen after ejaculation can also be a symptom of prostate cancer.
Pain and numbness
Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread to other areas of the body from where it first occurred. When prostate cancer metastasizes, it often spreads to the bones. This can reason pain in the following areas: