Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, excluding skin cancer. In fact, the fear of having prostate cancer can be devastating but this type of cancer is most successfully treated when found early. But what is the prostate and what happens during cancer? Also, what types or forms of prostate cancer are diagnosed among men?
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a gland that is found only in men that makes the fluid that nourishes and carries sperm. The tube that transports urine (the urethra) also runs through the prostate. The prostate is just below the bladder and lies in front of the rectum. It is about the size of an average sized walnut.
What is cancer?
As cancer cells multiply, they form a mass called a tumor. Tumors are considered cancerous only if they are malignant. This means that they invade neighboring tissues due to their uncontrolled growth. They may travel to remote organs via the bloodstream. The process of invading and spreading to other organs is called metastasis. Tumors overwhelm surrounding tissues by invading their space. They take the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive and function.
What is prostate cancer?
Cancer occurs when normal cells transform, grow and multiply without normal controls. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate begin to grow out of control and can then invade nearby tissues or spread throughout the body. Put more simply, prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in a man's prostate gland. Almost all prostate cancers begin in the secretory glandular cells in the prostate.
Types of prostate cancer
Prostate tissues contain several different types of cells. Cancer can develop in each of these different types of tissues. The most common form of prostate cancer develops within the glandular cells and are called adenocarcinomas.
Adenocarcinomas - Cancer that develops within the glandular cells is called an adenocarcinoma. Almost all prostatic cancers are prostatic adenocarcinomas. Usually, adenocarcinoma develops at the surface of the prostate. It can be easily detected trough a digital rectal examination.
Leiomyosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma - There are two other forms of prostate cancer called leiomyosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma. They are rarer types of prostate cancer that develop in the surrounding tissues of the prostate gland.
Do doctors know what causes prostate cancer? Are genetics one reason one man can be diagnosed with prostate cancer and another not? Continue reading here for more information about risk factors and causes of prostate cancer.