What is the prostate?

Only men have a prostate gland. The prostate is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra – the tube men urinate (pee) and ejaculate through.

Its main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm.

The most common prostate problems are an enlarged prostate, prostatitis and prostate cancer.

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What is prostate cancer?

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Prostate cancer can develop when cells in the prostate start to grow in an uncontrolled way. Prostate cancer often grows slowly to start with and may never cause any problems. But some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread. This needs treatment to stop it spreading outside the prostate.

Signs and symptoms

Prostate cancer that’s contained inside the prostate (called localised prostate cancer or early prostate cancer) doesn’t usually cause any symptoms. But some men might have some urinary problems. These can be mild and happen over many years and may be a sign of a benign prostate problem, rather than prostate cancer.

Find out more information about the possible symptoms of prostate cancer.

If you're worried about your risk or are experiencing any symptoms, visit your GP or speak to our Specialist Nurses.

Are you at risk?

In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

Men aged 50 or over, men with a family history of prostate cancer and black men are more at risk of getting prostate cancer.

Find out more about your risk.

Facts and figures

See and share our infographic on prostate cancer risk.

Below are some of the very basic facts and figures about prostate cancer.

Across the UK

  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men.
  • Over 47,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that's 129 men every day.
  • Every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer – that's more than 11,000 men every year.
  • 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.
  • Over 330,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer.

In Scotland

  • More than 3,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in Scotland.
  • More than 900 men die from prostate cancer every year in Scotland.

In England

  • Almost 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in England.
  • More than 10,000 men die from prostate cancer every year in England.
  • Every 45 minutes one man dies from prostate cancer in England.

In Wales

  • More than 2,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in Wales.
  • More than 500 men die every year from prostate cancer in Wales.

In Northern Ireland

  • More than 1,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in Northern Ireland.
  • More than 200 men die every year from prostate cancer in Northern Ireland.

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References

Updated: July 2017 | Due for Review: July 2019

  • List of references  

    • Cancer Research UK. Cancer incidence for common cancers: Ten most common cancers in males (2014) [Internet]. 2016 [cited 2016 Feb 26]. Available from: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/incidence/common-cancers-compared#heading-One
    • Cancer Research UK. Prostate cancer incidence statistics [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2014 Sep 16]. Available from: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/prostate/incidence/#age
    • Cancer Research UK. Prostate cancer incidence statistics: Lifetime risk (2010). 2012.
    • ISD Scotland. Cancer Statistics | Male Genital Organ Cancer -Incidence, Mortality, Prevalence, Survival [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2017 Jul 24]. Available from: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Cancer-Statistics/Male-Genital-Organs/
    • Kheirandish P, Chinegwundoh F. Ethnic differences in prostate cancer. Br J Cancer. 2011 Aug 9;105(4):481–5.
    • Kiciński M, Vangronsveld J, Nawrot TS. An Epidemiological Reappraisal of the Familial Aggregation of Prostate Cancer: A Meta-Analysis. Little J, editor. PLoS ONE. 2011 Oct 31;6(10):e27130.
    • NCIN/Macmillan. The UK Cancer Prevalence Project [Internet]. [cited 2016 Sep 22]. Available from: http://www.ncin.org.uk/about_ncin/segmentation
    • Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer Registration Statistics, England -2015 (released 2017) [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2017 Jul 17]. Available from: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/datasets/cancerregistrationstatisticscancerregistrationstatisticsengland
    • Queen’s University Belfast | N. Ireland Cancer Registry. Queen’s University Belfast | N. Ireland Cancer Registry | Prostate, Incidence, Mortality, Survival_2015 (rel 2017) [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jul 17]. Available from: https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/CancerInformation/official-statistics/BySite/Prostate/
    • Queen’s University Belfast | N. Ireland Cancer Registry. Queen’s University Belfast | N. Ireland Cancer Registry_Incidence, Mortality, Survival_2015 (rel 2017) [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jul 17]. Available from: https://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/CancerInformation/official-statistics/BySite/Prostate/
    • Rebbeck TR, Devesa SS, Chang B-L, Bunker CH, Cheng I, Cooney K, et al. Global Patterns of Prostate Cancer Incidence, Aggressiveness, and Mortality in Men of African Descent. Prostate Cancer. 2013;2013:1–12.
    • Unit WCI and S. Wales Incidence_2015 (rel 2017) [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jul 17]. Available from: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk/dashboard-data
    • Unit WCI and S. Wales Mortality 2015 (rel 2017) [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2017 Jul 17]. Available from: http://www.wcisu.wales.nhs.uk/cancer-mortality-in-wales