What is the prostate?

The prostate is a gland. Only men have a prostate. The prostate is usually the size and shape of a walnut. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube men urinate (pee) and ejaculate through. The prostate’s main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer can develop when cells in your prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way. Prostate cancer often grows slowly and may never cause any problems. But some prostate cancer grows quickly and has a high risk of spreading. This is more likely to cause problems and needs treatment to stop it spreading.

 

Does prostate cancer have any symptoms?

Most men with early prostate cancer don’t have any symptoms. So, even if you don’t have symptoms, if you’re a black man over 45, speak to your GP about your risk of prostate cancer.

Some men with prostate cancer may have difficulty urinating. Men with prostate cancer that’s spread to other parts of the body might have pain in the back, hips or pelvis, problems getting or keeping an erection, blood in the urine, or unexplained weight loss. These symptoms are usually caused by other things that aren’t prostate cancer. For example, if you notice any changes when you urinate or have trouble controlling your bladder, this could be a sign of an enlarged prostate or prostatitis. But it’s still a good idea to talk to your GP so they can find out what’s causing them.

References

Updated: November 2016|To be reviewed: November 2018

  • List of references  

    • Collin SM, Metcalfe C, Donovan J, Lane JA, Davis M, Neal D, et al. Associations of lower urinary tract symptoms with prostate-specific antigen levels, and screen-detected localized and advanced prostate cancer: a case-control study nested within the UK population-based ProtecT (Prostate testing for cancer and Treatment) study. BJU Int. 2008 Jun 6;102(0):1400–6.
    • Mottet N, Bellmunt J, Briers E, Bolla M, Cornford P, De Santis M, et al. Guidelines on prostate cancer. European Association of Urology; 2016.
    • National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Prostate Cancer: diagnosis and treatment. Full guideline 175. 2014.
    • National Institute for Clinical Excellence. Suspected cancer: recognition and referral. NICE Guideline 12. June 2015 [Internet]. 2015. Available from: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng12 
    • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Clinical Knowledge Summary: prostate cancer diagnosis [Internet]. 2011 [cited 2016 Oct 12]. Available from: http://cks.nice.org.uk/prostate-cancer#!diagnosis
    • Popiolek M, Rider JR, Andrén O, Andersson S-O, Holmberg L, Adami H-O, et al. Natural History of Early, Localized Prostate Cancer: A Final Report from Three Decades of Follow-up. Eur Urol. 2013;63(3):428–35.
    • Public Health England. Prostate cancer risk management programme (PCRMP): benefits and risks of PSA testing [Internet]. GOV.UK; 2016. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prostate-cancer-risk-management-programme-psa-test-benefits-and-risks/prostate-cancer-risk-management-programme-pcrmp-benefits-and-risks-of-psa-testing