Prostate Cancer

Cells in nearly any part of the body can become cancer cells, and with prostate cancer, the cells of the prostate gland start growing uncontrollably.

What is Prostate Cancer?

In most cases, prostate cancer usually grows slowly which means that it takes a number of years to become large enough to be detected. In fact, there have been a number of autopsy studies which have shown that men who died of other non-cancer causes have had prostate cancer. The cancer showed no symptoms, was not detected by their doctors and more importantly, never affected them during their lives.

The prostate gland is usually located underneath the bladder, in front of the rectum and surrounds the urethra. The prostate gland is the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. Only men have a prostate gland and the main function of the gland is the production of semen. The muscles of the prostate also ensure that the semen is forcefully pressed into the urethra and then expelled outwards during ejaculation.

Besides cancer, the prostate gland may cause two other common men health problems:

  • Benign enlargement of the prostate (BPH, or benign prostatic hyperplasia), one of the most common benign tumours in men and a source of symptoms for most men as they age
  • Prostatitis, painful inflammation of the prostate, the most common cause of urinary tract infections in men

Both these prostate problems are common in men after age 50, and fortunately, effective treatment and relief of symptoms is easily available.

While early prostate cancer rarely causes any typical symptoms, it is recommended that men after 50 should speak to their doctors about the need for a prostate exam. According to the National Cancer Registry, prostate cancer is the fourth most common male cancer in Malaysia, accounting for 5.7 per cent of cancer cases among men.



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