Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the uncontrolled growth and division of cells in the prostate gland. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, second only to skin cancer. Prostate cancer typically grows slowly and usually does not grow outside the confines of the prostate gland itself.

There are more aggressive forms of prostate cancer that could grow more quickly and metastasize outside of the prostate gland, however these are more rare.

As men age they develop a higher probability of developing prostate cancer. The size of the prostate also typically continues to grow as men age, and is a contributing factor to overall prostate health.

Illustration shows on the left a normal prostate gland below the bladder and on the right hand side there is an enlarged prostate gland pressing into the bladder above. This is why people with enlarged prostates or prostate cancer could have a frequent urge to urinate.

Types of prostate cancer

  • Adenocarcinoma – This category of prostate cancer makes up over 95% of all diagnosed cases. There are 2 classifications of adenocarcinoma; acinar and ductal. Acinar adenocarcinoma of the prostate makes up approximately 90% of all adenocarcinoma cases. Anincar adenocarcinoma develop in the acini cells of the prostate. These cells form in clustered groups in the prostate gland. Acini line the prostate and produce the fluid that ultimately is a precursor to seamen.
  • Small cell carcinoma – This cancer is made from smaller round cells. Small cell carcinoma of the prostate is a very aggressive form of prostate cancer. Small cell carcinoma makes up less than 1% of all prostate cancer cases. They are also anaplastic tumors similar to small cell carcinoma of the lung.
  • Neuroendocrine tumors – This category of prostate cancer is present in the neuroendocrine system of the body. The neuroendocrine system is responsible for transporting nerve signals as well as hormones to various parts of the body. Typically these tumors form in the digestive tract.
  • Transitional cell carcinomas – Also referred to as urothelial cancer, transitional cell carcinoma normally starts in the urethra or the bladder. This is typically a secondary cancer that spread to the prostate.
  • Sarcomas – Sarcoma of the prostate makes up less than 1/10th of 1 percent. Sarcomas develop in the soft tissue such as muscles and nerves.
Prostate cancer illustrating malignant tumors inside the prostate gland.

Prostate cancer symptoms

Symptoms of prostate cancer can be very mild or severe, depending on the type, exact location and progression of the disease.

  • Pain or burning sensation on urination
  • Discomfort or pain when sitting
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Weak urine flow and straining to fully empty bladder
  • Blood in urine
  • Blood in semen
  • Fatigue
  • Change in bowel habits

Prostate cancer diagnosis

Prostate cancer diagnosis can only be done by a doctor, and screening for men is very important, especially after 45 years of age.

  • Digital Rectal exam
  • Ultrasound of the prostate
  • Biopsy of the prostate
  • MRI
  • Prostate specific antigen test


Besides skin cancer prostate cancer is the 2nd most widely diagnosed cancer in men. Though the chances of developing prostate cancer increases with age, it can strike men at any age.

The good news regarding prostate cancer is that most have a very high treatment success rate especially if caught early. Like with other cancer, early detection is key.

Starting at 45 years of age, it is suggested that men get tested with a digital rectal exam 1 time per year to check for abnormalities in the prostate.