Prostate cancer is a disease where some cells in the prostate gland grow and multiply uncontrollably. This brochure will help you understand what prostate cancer is, and how it affects your body.
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Understanding Prostate Cancer
You or someone you care about has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. This video will help you understand how prostate cancer affects your body.
Anatomy and Function of the Prostate Gland
The prostate is a gland in men that makes part of the fluid in semen. It's found just under the bladder, in front of the last part of the large intestine, called the rectum.
The prostate wraps around part of the urethra, which is the tube that passes urine and semen out of the body.
How Prostate Cancer Develops
Most prostate cancer starts in tiny sacs within the gland that make prostatic fluid. Here, cancer cells form from gland cells that line the sacs.
Over time, the cancer cells can multiply, and form a malignant, or cancerous, tumor. However, most prostate cancer grows more slowly than other types of cancer.
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
There are usually no symptoms in early prostate cancer. However, as the tumor enlarges the prostate, you may have the following symptoms:
Note that these symptoms may be caused by prostate enlargement that is not cancer.
Grading and Staging of Prostate Cancer
If you have prostate cancer, your doctor will need to determine the grade and the stage, or progression, of the disease.
Grading Each grade is based on how normal the prostate tissue looks under a microscope. The grading system for prostate cancer is called the Gleason grading system.
In this system, samples of two main areas of the tumor will each be given a grade from one to five. The grades will be added together to give the cancer a Gleason score between two and ten.
The higher the Gleason score, the more likely the cancer is to grow and spread to other areas.
Each stage for prostate cancer is based on the amount of cancer you have and where it's found.
As you deal with a diagnosis of prostate cancer, continue to talk to your doctor and your cancer care team.
The information in this handout has been created and peer reviewed by graduate-level medical illustrators, followed by reviews from medical subject experts, either physicians or PhDs on the Nucleus Medical Review Board, to ensure medical accuracy and audience level appropriateness.
The handout is intended to supplement the information you receive from your healthcare provider and should never be considered personal medical advice. Always contact your healthcare provider with health questions and concerns.