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The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. When cancer cells have formed in the tissues of the prostate, it is known as prostate cancer. This is the second-most common type of cancer among U.S. men; however, most do not die from it. Although the cause is unknown, risk factors associated with prostate cancer include age, race, family history, and diet.
It is estimated that nearly 221,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year. Prostate cancer is the second-most common type of cancer among men in this country. Only skin cancer is more common. Out of every three men who are diagnosed with cancer each year, one is diagnosed with prostate cancer.
This type of cancer is common in older men. By age 50, about one-third of American men have microscopic signs of prostate cancer. By age 75, half to three-quarters of men will have some cancerous changes in their prostate glands. Most of these cancers remain latent, producing no prostate symptoms or signs, or are so indolent (or slow-growing) that they never become a serious threat to health.
A much smaller number of men will actually be treated for prostate cancer. About 16 percent of American men will be diagnosed with it during their lives; 8 percent will develop significant symptoms of prostate cancer; and 3 percent will die of the disease.
After a diagnosis of prostate cancer, a man and his family face several choices regarding prostate cancer treatment. Decisions involve many factors, personal as well as medical. Before making these decisions, it is important that he learns about all the options available. With this knowledge, a newly diagnosed patient can participate more confidently with his doctor in planning his individual treatment.