Prostate Cancer is defined as the growth of cancer cells on the prostate, a small gland that makes up part of the reproductive system in men. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men.

Globally, prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the world, accounting for 6.9% of all cancers diagnosed. Prostate cancer is responsible for 6% of cancer deaths in men each year.

More often than not, prostate cancer is confined to the prostate gland and will not spread to other areas of the body, however early diagnosis is essential to keeping the cancer under control. The American Cancer Society predicts that there will be 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer in 2018 alongside 29,430 resulting deaths.

This week, LetsGetChecked tells you 10 things you need to know about prostate cancer in honour of Prostate Cancer Awareness month. LetsGetChecked strive to offer education and raise awareness around certain health conditions. LetsGetChecked does not replace the advice offered by your practitioner, who should be your first point of call should you receive a cancer diagnosis.


1. Your Prostate Is A Walnut Shaped Gland


In one study, it was found that 17% of men didn’t know they had a prostate gland and a further 54% of people did not know where the gland was located. Your prostate is a walnut shaped gland that is located below the bladder, behind the penis and in front of the rectum. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, a tube which carries urine from the bladder through to the penis and out of the body.

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2. Your Prostate Is Essential In Supporting Healthy Conception


In the same study, it was found that out of the 3500 men who were studied, 92% of the demographic did not know what the role of the prostate gland was. A functioning and healthy prostate gland is essential in supporting healthy conception. The prostate gland is responsible for the production of prostate fluid, a liquid component of semen. Semen or seminal fluid is responsible for the nourishment of sperm in the testes and the transportation of semen within the body and out of the body during ejaculation.


3. Prostate Cancer Occurs During The Uncontrolled Growth Of Cancer Cells


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in U.S men. It is good to know that many cancers grow so slowly that they may never become life-threatening, many ongoing studies attempt to segment out life-threatening and non-threatening prostate cancers so it is possible to identify which cancers are slow-growing and non threatening Vs. which cancers are spreading at a faster rate with damaging cancer cells. Despite these reports and developing technology to rule out prostate cancer, you should remain vigilant in getting screened on a regular basis, especially after the age of 50.


4. 1 in 9 Men Will Be Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer


1 in 9 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, 1 in 41 men will die by cause of prostate cancer. It is comforting to know that 2.9 million men in the U.S have been diagnosed with cancer at some point of their lives but are still alive today. Although the exact risk factors associated with prostate cancer are not fully understood. It is known that you have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer as a result of certain lifestyle factors that include diet and exercise, drinking alcohol and smoking. Prostate cancer may also be caused by family history, racial origin and genetics.

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5. 80% Of Prostate Cancer Cases Affect Men Over The Age Of 65

Prostate cancer is the most common illness among elderly men (Men over the age of 65). It is the second leading cause "malignancy" in the western world according to a study carried out by the NCBI entitled, Prostate Cancer in Elderly Men". You are more likely to develop prostate cancer later in life with 80% of prostate cancer cases affecting men over the age of 65.


Watch this video with Dr. Dominic Rowley to find out everything you need to know when it comes to testing for prostate cancer




6. African American Men Are Most At Risk For Prostate Cancer


Black men are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from the disease according to the American Cancer Society. Prostate cancer is most common among men of African descent in North America and the Caribbean.

African American men and Afro-Caribbean men are have a higher risk and mortality rate associated with prostate cancer for a number of reasons. The main discrepancy between white and black men in terms of developing prostate cancer and treatment can be attributed to genetics, lifestyle, environmental factors and level of socio-economic stability.


7. The Incidence Of Cancer Is Increasing Globally


The global burden of cancer is rising overall. The global cancer burden has risen to 18.1 million new cases per year with a resulting 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Cancer cases in the U.S account for 21% of total incidence rates each year alongside 14.4% of the yearly mortality rate according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO report that 20% of men and 16.6% of women will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime.

In the U.S, overall cancer diagnoses are said to have decreased, however the number of prostate cancer cases has risen among U.S men according to the U.S Prevention Services.

8. Treatment Of Prostate Cancer May Increase Your Chance Of Developing Dementia

Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT), also known as androgen suppression therapy is a common method used in treating prostate cancer. ADT was founded in the 1940s as a form of treatment. Today this method of treatment is still used in over half of U.S prostate cancer patients.

In one recent report, it was found that there was an increased risk of developing dementia following five years of ADT therapy. The likelihood of developing dementia in those who received ADT is 7.9% in contrast to 3.5% of people who did not receive the androgen suppression therapy. The study came to this conclusion by studying the results of 9,500 prostate cancer patients including those who received ADT and those who did not and co-analyzing dementia risk.


9. Prostate Cancer Has Four Stages


  • Stage-1 Prostate Cancer (I)
    Also known as the "Local Stage", during Stage I, there is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the prostate. 80% of prostate cancer cases are detected during this stage according to the American Cancer Society. During Stage 1, the tumour is not detectable during physical or imaging examinations. The survival rate during Stage I is 100%.

  • Stage-2 Prostate Cancer (Divided into IIA & IIB)
    During Stage II, the tumour may or may not be detectable through imaging or physical examinations, however, at this point, you may be able to tell how likely the tumour is to spread based on the Gleason Score. The Gleason Score is a system running from 2-10 of grading prostate cancer tissue based on how it looks under a microscope. The higher the Gleason score, the more likely the tumour is to spread.

  • Stage-3 Prostate Cancer (III)
    Also known as the "Regional Stage". During Stage III, cancer cells spread from the prostate gland to nearby areas and seminal vesicles. Cancer cells have not moved to other organs at this point and the 5-year relative survival rate is 100%.

  • Stage-4 Prostate Cancer (IV)
    Also known as the "Distant Stage", during Stage IV, cancer cells spread to distant lymph nodes, organs and other bones. Metastasis describes the uncontrolled growth cells to wider parts of the body. The survival rate during this stage is 29%.


10. Early Screening Is Essential For Successful Treatment


Survival rates refer to the percentage of people with the same stage and type of cancer that are still alive after a certain amount of time, from the moment of diagnosis. The period of time as described is usually 5 years. This rate is used to determine the likelihood of survival from diagnosis, through treatment up until remission.

The current 5 year survival rate for prostate cancer is 99%. It is important to remember that the current statistics are based on the outcomes of a large sample group from five years ago. As treatments improve and develop, so too do the prognosis associated with prostate cancer. No two cancer cases are the same and the only way to fully know your health is to get tested on a regular basis, visit your doctor and monitor physical changes.


Read: Do You Have Elevated PSA?


Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley