Hope fully this will raise just a little bit of thought to guys to get themselves checked out. Even if just one person gets checked from reading this then I have helped in some little way.
The prostate is a small gland found only in men.
The prostate produces a thick white fluid called semen that mixes with the sperm produced by the testes. It also produces a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA) that turns the semen into liquid.
The gland is surrounded by a sheet of muscle and a fibrous capsule. The growth of prostate cells and the way the prostate gland works is dependent on the male sex hormone, testosterone, which is produced in the testicles.
The back of the prostate gland is close to the rectum (back passage). Near to the prostate are collections of lymph nodes. These are small glands, about the size of a baked bean.
In the UK about 1 in 14 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. In the USA the incidence is much higher. This is thought to be due to the fact that in the USA more men have tests to try to detect early prostate cancer.
Risk factors and causes of prostate cancer
The number of men being diagnosed with cancer of the prostate gland in the UK (and many other countries) has increased in recent years. It is thought that the incidence is increasing because more men are having tests that detect very early prostate cancers that would previously not have been found. It may also be because the number of older men in the population is growing.
Researchers are trying to find out more about the causes of prostate cancer. Although the causes of cancer of the prostate are still unknown, there are some factors that are known to increase a man’s chance of developing the disease.
The strongest risk factor for prostate cancer is age. Men under 50 have a very low risk of prostate cancer, but their risk increases as they get older. It’s estimated that around 80% of men in their 80s will have prostate cancer.
Some ethnic groups have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer than others. For example, black African and black Caribbean men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men. Asian men have a lower risk of developing it.
Men who have close relatives (a father, brother, grandfather or uncle) who have had prostate cancer are slightly more likely to develop it themselves. It is thought that a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer is more likely if:
If this is the case in your family it may indicate that a faulty gene is present. However, a specific gene linked to prostate cancer has not yet been identified.
If several women in a family have had breast cancer (especially before the age of 40), it could also indicate that a faulty gene may be present. This gene may increase the risk of men in the family getting prostate cancer. Only a small number of prostate cancers (5-10% or less than 1 in 10 cases) are thought to be due to an inherited faulty gene in the family.
If you are worried about your family history see our section about cancer genetics and prostate cancer.
It is thought that a diet high in animal fat (including dairy products) and low in fresh fruit and vegetables may increase your risk of prostate cancer. A high intake of calcium (such as from dairy foods) may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Tomatoes and tomato products (such as ketchup) may help to protect against prostate cancer. This may be because they contain high levels of a substance called lycopene.
Prostate cancer generally affects men over 50, and is rarely found in younger men. It is the commonest type of cancer in men. Around 34,000 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.
It differs from most other cancers in the body, in that small areas of cancer within the prostate are very common and may stay dormant (inactive) for many years.
Approximately one half of all men in their fifties have some cancer cells within their prostate and 8 out of 10 men (80%) over the age of 80 have a small area of prostate cancer. Most of these cancers grow extremely slowly and so, particularly in elderly men, will never cause any problems.
In a small proportion of men, the prostate cancer can grow more quickly and in some cases may spread to other parts of the body, particularly the bones.
All of this information was taken from MacMillan. Please if you have any worries contact them or your doctor.