The Basics of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common of all of the cancers that men can get, striking one in every six men. Older men and men of African American heritage are the most likely part of the population to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The good news is that if the cancer is detected early, the cure rate is extremely high – over 90% in most cases. One of the reasons for the high cure rate is the fact that the cancer tends to be slow-moving one most of the time. However, it is impossible to determine how fast the cancer will grow, so it is important to see your doctor every year for screenings.

Prostate cancer begins in the prostate gland of men, which is located below the bladder, and in front of the rectum. The gland is about the size of a walnut and is responsible for nourishing and carrying sperm. Cancer occurs when the cells of this gland begin to grow abnormally, and may not be detected by visible symptoms until the cancer is past the early stage of the disease. Most of the time, prostate cancer is detected through yearly screenings in your doctor’s office, and is often caught early enough to make it very treatable.

Risk Factors

While the cause of prostate cancer is unknown, there are many risk factors to consider when determining if you are likely to be diagnosed with the disease at some point in your life. The first factor to take into consideration is the age of the patient. Prostate cancer is much more common in men over the age of 65, although cases begin to be detected by about the age of 50. Family history is another risk factor, especially if you have a father or brother who has been diagnosed with the disease. Heredity and genetics play a role in about 10% of all of the diagnosed cases of prostate cancer.

Another common risk factor for this type of cancer is race. Prostate cancer is most common by far in African American men, while Asian men have one of the lowest incidences of the disease. Because of the risk to African American men, it is recommended that if you are a member of this race you begin your annual screenings up to ten years earlier than other men. Diet can also play a role in the risk of many cancers, including prostate cancer, so eating a diet that is low in fat and includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is an absolute must is reducing the risk of being diagnosed.


There are many options for treating prostate cancer that are available to men that are diagnosed with the disease. These treatments can include surgery to remove the prostate, radiation and chemotherapy. The type of treatment will be determined by you and your doctor, and will depend on the stage of the disease as well as the rate of growth. In some cases, the best treatment may simply be a “watch and wait” approach. The good news is that there are many options available for treating and even curing prostate cancer.