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Prostate cancer – the facts

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The prostate is a gland located in the male reproductive system, in between the bladder and the rectum. Prostate literally stands for “the guardian”, with its primary function being to help make and store seminal fluid in addition to producing an alkaline secretion that is ejaculated with semen. This secretion neutralizes the acidity of the vagina, allowing sperm to live longer.

Prostate cancer is when the cells of the prostate begin to grow uncontrollably. Like many other cancers, the early stages of prostate cancer are virtually undetectable. However, in its later development, some of the symptoms include:

While the precise causes of prostate cancer remain virtually unknown, some of the risk factors include:

The best prevention of prostate cancer is examination. Doctors suggest men starting at the age of 50 undergo annual rectal exams as most prostate tumors occur nearest the rectum, and may be detected this way. A blood test is also recommended.

Because prostate cancer is slow moving, if it is detected many opt to wait and see how it develops. If the doctor and patient reach a decision to proceed with direct treatment, this usually includes surgery to remove the prostate and surrounded lymph nodes, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, cryosurgery, and only in the rarest of cases chemotherapy.

Click here to find out more about prostate cancer.

Celebrities who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer include:

Image source attribution: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b6/Penis_ca.svg

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