Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer diagnosed in men, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, after lung cancer.
The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland produces fluid that makes up part of semen.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Prostate cancer often has no early symptoms. Advanced prostate cancer can cause men to urinate more often or have a weaker flow of urine, but these symptoms can also be caused by benign prostate conditions.
Because of effective screening options for prostate cancer, the disease is often caught before it spreads, and as a whole, survival rates are good for this type of cancer.
The NCI’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program estimates that more than 248,530 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 34,130 men will die of the disease in 2021.
Prostate cancer is more common in older men. It is more likely to occur in men with a family history of prostate cancer and in men of African-American descent. Other risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. In the United States, about 11 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetimes.
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.