The prostate is a small gland, about the size of a walnut, that’s located just behind the bladder and below the rectum. As part of the male reproductive system, along with the penis, seminal vesicles, and testicles, the prostate produces the fluid that makes up a part of semen.
What does the prostate actually do?
One of the prostate’s most important functions is helping in the creation of semen. It does this by creating a fluid that combines with sperm cells from the testicles and fluids from other glands to create semen.
The muscles of the prostate also play a pretty important role in helping expel the semen during ejaculation as well as letting urine flow out of the body. This function is why it’s common for those who have had surgery or radiation treatment for prostate cancer to experience the loss of the ability to control urination.
See also: What Does High PSA Mean?
What happens if your prostate is removed?
More often than not, the decision to remove the prostate is made in order to treat localized prostate cancer. This surgery is called prostatectomy and may be used alongside radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy as part of cancer treatment.
According to the American Cancer Society , there are two major side effects associated with the removal of the prostate, these include:
Those who have had their prostate removed may find it difficult to control their urine. One of the most common forms associated with prostatectomy is stress incontinence; this occurs when the man may ‘leak’ after laughing, sneezing, coughing, or even exercising.
There are small groups of nerves that run alongside the prostate that control erections, if the cancer has grown close to these nerves, they will be removed during surgery. This may result in an inability to have impromptu erections but it may still be possible to have erections with the help of certain treatments .
Is having a prostate necessary?
While the prostate plays important roles in both sexual and urinary function, if a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, depending on the stage and grade, removal of the prostate may be considered.
So, although you can live without a prostate, there are certain unfavourable side effects associated with removing the prostate which is why a prostatectomy should only be performed under serious conditions.
When cancer is spotted in its early stages, it’s more likely that treatment will be successful and one of the most reliable ways to spot it early is with a screening test. It’s important to note that screening is recommended for people who have no symptoms at all. If you’re experiencing signs or symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor.
LetsGetChecked’s at-home PSA Test can measure the levels of prostate-specific antigen in the blood which may be elevated in prostate cancer, as well as in a number of other conditions. Test results will be available online within 2-5 days and our dedicated medical team will be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
You should consider taking the test if:
- You are over the age of 50
- You have a strong family history of prostate cancer
- You are experiencing symptoms related to prostate cancer
- You are overweight or obese