Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a golf-ball-sized gland that sits between the bladder and the penis. It secretes fluid that nourishes and protects sperm. Most older men have some cancer cells in their prostate glands. But because these cells usually grow slowly, they don't cause symptoms or affect health in most men. That said, about 230,000 American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, and nearly 30,000 die of it.

Exactly why some men develop full-blown prostate cancer and others don't is a mystery. But researchers have identified several factors that raise a man's risk of the disease. These include:

Age. Older men are far more likely to develop prostate cancer than younger men.

Race. African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men, and to be diagnosed with more advanced-stage cancer.

Family history. A man whose father or brother has been diagnosed with prostate cancer is two to three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than a man who doesn't have family members with the disease.

Lifestyle. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products seem to have a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Treatments for prostate cancer include an operation to remove the prostate (prostatectomy) and radiation therapy. Both often cause side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Since early treatment with surgery or radiation doesn't necessarily "cure" the disease, and prevents relatively few men from dying from prostate cancer, more and more men are opting for a strategy known as watchful waiting or active surveillance. They and their doctors monitor the low-risk cancer closely and choose treatment only when the disease appears to make threatening moves toward growing and spreading.

Prostate Cancer Articles

Is prostate cancer linked with other cancers?

Prostate cancer that occurs after age 60 probably does not increase the risk of getting a different kind of cancer. However, some men might have a genetic risk for a more aggressive type of prostate cancer, which could increase their risk of other cancers. (Locked) More »

Understanding the risks of supplements and herbal remedies for prostate cancer

Coping with prostate disease is never easy. You may find that established treatments are not always particularly effective and you may want to try other more natural methods for prostate cancer, such as herbs and supplements. But you should use them with caution, and always check with your doctor before taking any new type of medication. An estimated one-third of American men with prostate cancer use at least one form of complementary medicine therapy, including herbs and supplements. Some studies have suggested herbs and supplements might help with prostate cancer treatment and support. But the main concern is that some herbs and supplements can interact with each other, or with your prescribed medications. For example, they may enhance the effects of some medications or negate any benefit. More »

New approach identifies returning prostate cancer

Researchers have mapped patterns of prostate cancer recurrence following surgery, which may help doctors find the best way to treat men whose cancer has returned. About 30% of men who have prostate cancer surgery will have a recurrence, according to the study in the Journal of Urology.  More »