What is prostate cancer?
Destroying cancer cells
Only men have a prostate gland. Prostate cancer happens when cells start to grow abnormally and multiply very fast. It can grow slowly to begin with no symptoms so it can be difficult to detect.
If prostate cancer is found before it has spread it’s easier to treat. You may be offered a combination of therapies including surgery, radiation therapy (utilising SpaceOAR® Hydrogel) and hormone therapy.
In 2013 there were around 19,000 new cases of prostate cancer.
What is the prostate?
The prostate gland is located underneath the bladder, around the urethra, and is about the shape and size of a walnut. It makes prostate fluid, one of the components of semen, and a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA).
- Prostate cancer happens when abnormal cells in the prostate multiply, causing a tumour
- These cancerous cells can grow throughout the prostate and through the capsule surrounding the prostate
- They can spread to other areas including bone and lymph nodes. This is known as secondary prostate cancer
How quickly does prostate cancer progress?
- Prostate cancer is usually slow growing
- Most men without symptoms (low grade prostate cancer) can live for many years without it spreading and becoming life-threatening
- As men live longer, prostate cancer is causing more problems
- Treatment is often recommended to kill off cancerous cells before they spread
- Early detection and careful monitoring and/or treatment are important
What causes prostate cancer?
The exact cause of prostate cancer isn’t known. However, some factors are known to increase the risk. Prostate cancer is rare before the age of 40, and the risk increases after age 50.
Risk factors also include:
- Diet and lifestyle
- A strong family history of prostate cancer
- Specific genetic conditions, which are also associated with breast cancer and ovarian cancer in women (BRCA mutations)