The prostate gland is a reasonably small gland that is roughly the size of a walnut and sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate is an important gland which manufactures the liquid that helps to carry sperm.

One significant problem that can arise with the prostate is prostate cancer which is a serious and life-threatening condition that can be expected to strike about ten percent of all men and is the second commonest cause of cancer related death in men these days.

So exactly how does this particular disease start?

Cancer of the prostate starts as a malignant tumor in the prostate gland which, if left untreated, is likely to spread into neighboring tissue and organs and then into the lymph nodes and bone.

So what are the risk factors involved when it comes to contracting this form of cancer?

Over 70 percent of men suffering from this condition are over the age of 65.

Men who have close blood relatives such as a grandfather or father who have suffered from this condition are up to eleven times more likely to develop cancer of the prostate gland.

The death rate in men increases with weight and is especially high in men who are obese.

Caucasian men are more than twice as likely to suffer from this problem as are those of African decent.

Is there anything I can do to stop myself getting prostate cancer?

In reality there is nothing which you can do to stop yourself from running into this problem although some people are convinced that eating a healthy diet can lower your risk. At present there is little if any evidence to support this.

Diagnosing prostate cancer.

There are several tests which can be done including the prostate specific antigen test, the digital rectal examination and a biopsy.

The prostate specific antigen test is a blood test which detects the level of a prostate specific antigen in the bloodstream. High prostate specific antigen levels do not mean that you have prostate cancer but are a marker for possible problems that should be investigated further.

The digital rectal examination requires a doctor to wear a glove and insert a lubricated finger into the anus to feel the prostate for signs of enlargement or irregularity.

In the case of a biopsy your doctor will take several tissue samples from your prostate which will then be examined under a microscope for any signs of cancer cells.

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