Reviewed by: Carole Arbuckle, Cancer Nurse, Registered Nurse (RN),Postgraduate Oncology Certificate
The prostate is a small gland about the size of a golf ball. It's found only in men. It sits just below the bladder and surrounds part of the urethra, the tube that takes urine from the bladder to outside the body. The prostate produces some of the fluid that makes up semen. The growth of the prostate depends on the male sex hormone, testosterone, which is made by the testes.
It's common for the prostate to get larger as men grow older. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Symptoms of BPH include poor urinary flow, needing to urinate often at night, and trouble starting to urinate. These are quite common in older men. They usually don't have anything to do with cancer.
Prostate cancer is a malignant tumour of the prostate. Prostate cancers can be in two main forms:
Prostate cancer can spread to lymph nodes in the pelvis and through the blood to other parts of the body, such as the bones and lungs. Most types of cancer spread, but treatment can often stop this happening.
The exact cause/s of prostate cancer are not known.
However, the chance of getting prostate cancer increases:
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men (apart from common skin cancers). Around 4680 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in Victoria each year.
Beyond Blue: Maintaining Your Wellbeing
Information on depression and anxiety for men with prostate cancer and their families.
Lions Australia Prostate Cancer website
Has more information, including more detailed information about localised prostate cancer.