The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system, which includes the penis, prostate, seminal vesicles, and testicles. The prostate is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). It produces fluid that makes up a part of semen.
As a man ages, the prostate tends to increase in size. This can cause the urethra to narrow and decrease urine flow. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, and it is not the same as prostate cancer.
Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer.
All men are at risk for prostate cancer.
Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:
- Older age. Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age. It’s most common after age 50.
- Race. For reasons not yet determined, Black people have a greater risk of prostate cancer than people of other races. In Black people, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced.
- Family history. If a blood relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer (BRCA1 or BRCA2) or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
- Obesity. People who are obese may have a higher risk of prostate cancer compared with people considered to have a healthy weight, though studies have had mixed results. In obese people, the cancer is more likely to be more aggressive and more likely to return after initial treatment.
- Difficulty starting urination.
- The weak or interrupted flow of urine.
- Urinating often, especially at night.
- Trouble emptying the bladder completely.
- Pain or burning during urination.
- Blood in the urine or semen.
- Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away.
- Painful ejaculation
- Losing weight without trying
- Erectile dysfunction