Prostate cancer

Other Names:
Malignant neoplasm of the prostate

The prostate gland is the organ most likely to develop cancer in aging men. Prostate cancers may be dormant and symptomless, or may develop into a spreading and possibly lethal malignancy. Cancer of the prostate does not produce symptoms in its early stages and is difficult to detect with certainty by rectal examination. When symptoms do occur, they are commonly due to the spread of the cancer to the bones, producing chronic back pain. Other symptoms, such as weak or interrupted urine flow, inability to urinate, blood in the urine, or the need to urinate frequently, are similar to those of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Localized disease is treated with total removal of the prostate or radiotherapy, whereas metastatic disease is usually treated with hormonal manipulation. Prostate surgery involves work deep in the pelvis. Patients may bleed a lot, usually requiring several weeks to recover their strength. And many are left impotent when doctors, cutting and stitching by touch at times, inadvertently damage nerves. Some are even left incontinent.


The prostate is a muscular gland somewhat bigger than a walnut that adds seminal fluid to the sperm before it is expelled during orgasm. It is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum.

Cancer cells are virtually inevitable in the prostates of men who live to their 70's and 80's; however, at autopsy, 15 to 30% of men over 30 who die of other causes have microscopic clusters of prostate cancer cells. It is not know what keeps some prostate cancers latent or what stimulates others to grow. However development of prostate cancer could be related to several factors such as genetics, growth hormones, environment, and diet. It is thought that a number of different fatty acids drive prostate cancer cells once they have developed, and accelerate the growth of tumour and increase their propensity to metastasize. The greatest risk is associated with unsaturated fats found particularly in red meat, whereas the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have For those diagnosed as having prostate cancer, many experts now recommend the Swedish approach to treatment: "watchful waiting". This approach, as the name would suggest, means keeping a close eye on any signs of the disease progressing, but holding off on extreme treatments, such as drugs, surgery, and chemotherapy, unless absolutely necessary. There is almost no difference in survival rates, and the quality of life of those treated in this way is obviously superior. For instance, statistics show that a healthy 60-year-old man has an average life expectancy of another 18 years. A 60-year-old man with prostate cancer, who does not have prostate surgery, has a life expectancy of another 16 years, while a 60-year-old man with prostate cancer who does have surgery has a life expectancy of another 17 years.

Researchers compared dietary patterns of 76 men with prostate cancer to that of 7,651 males without cancer. Men who ate the second-highest and third-highest amount of boron also had a lower risk than men in the study who consumed the least amount of boron.


Prostate cancer is the second highest cancer killer of men in the UK (behind lung cancer), accounting for about 10,000 deaths each year. The numbers for prostate cancer are rising faster than any other form of cancer. In USA, around 200,000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year and over 30,000 men die annually from the disease. The figures have fallen slightly during the 1990s. In the last three decades, the prostate cancer death rate has risen more than 17%. There is a nearly 80% greater risk of fatal prostate cancer for men whose diets are rich in animal fats. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American males after lung cancer, but is a rare cause of death in Japan. The incidence of prostate cancer is much more frequent in developed countries than in developing countries, as it is 50 times as high in the USA as in China. Recent studies suggest there may be a link between vasectomies and the development of prostate cancer. A 1992 American report found that men who had vasectomies more than 20 years earlier may face up to an 89% greater risk of prostate cancer, a statistical relationship that warranted further research. Should the correlation between vasectomy and prostate cancer prove reliable, many couples will face alternate birth control decisions, as more than 42 million couples around the world rely on vasectomy for family planning.

Related Problems:
Male sterility
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
06.05.2019 – 18:56 CEST