What Do You Know About Prostate Health?

Prostate cancer and other diseases of the prostate are common. Learning about these diseases can help you recognize problems and seek medical treatment early.

1. The prostate is located beneath the bladder and consists of glands and ducts embedded in muscle fibers.
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The prostate is part of a man's reproductive system. It produces fluid that carries sperm.
2. This year, 10,000 American men will die from prostate cancer and 100,000 new cases will be diagnosed.
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In 2012, about 242,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and about 28,000 men will die of the disease, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).
3. Prostate cancer is always fatal.
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Early detection and diagnosis and prompt treatment can often successfully cure or control the disease.
4. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests are always accurate.
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This test isn't always accurate because other conditions may elevate the PSA, the ACS says.
5. African American men and men with a history of prostate cancer in their families have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
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According to the ACS, prostate cancer occurs about 60 percent more often in African American men than in white American men. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man's risk of developing this disease. An African American man with a family history of prostate cancer has two major risk factors and is at higher than average risk.
6. These are the typical treatments for prostate cancer: monitoring a slow-growing cancer, surgical removal of the prostate, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.
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If you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your health care provider may refer you to a specialist for treatment. Specialists who treat prostate cancer include urologists and urologic oncologists, as well as radiation oncologists, the National Cancer Institute says.
7. The most important risk factor for prostate cancer is aging.
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The ACS says about two-thirds of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men older than 65.
8. If your PSA is abnormal, you'll undergo tests before a doctor makes a confirmed diagnosis of prostate cancer.
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One test your doctor may order is a prostate biopsy, in which a small amount of tissue from your prostate is removed to check for cancer cells, the ACS says.
9. Many men experience a prostate infection or prostatitis at some time in their lives.
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See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms: frequent or difficult urination; urgent need to urinate; pain in the lower back and in the area between the rectum and the testicles; pain or a burning sensation while urinating; or blood in the urine.
10. Most men develop an enlarged prostate or benign prostate hyperplasia by age 80.
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More than half of men in their 60s, and as many as 90 percent in their 70s and 80s, have some symptoms of BPH, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
11. Early symptoms for an enlarged prostate are the same as those for prostate cancer, including blood in urine and impotence.
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These are symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. Prostate cancer in the early stages has few or no symptoms. Depending on what parts of the body it spreads to, prostate cancer symptoms may include bone pain, weight loss, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
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A man's prostate gland, which produces semen, is located beneath his bladder and is about the size of a walnut.