The prostate is a gland found only in men, located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, and is about the size of a walnut. The urethra, the tube that carries urine, runs through the prostate. The prostate contains cells that produce semen. Most of the time, prostate cancer grows slowly. Studies show many men who died of other diseases also had prostate cancer that never caused a problem during their lives.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, after lung cancer. According to the most recent U.S. estimates, 2010 will present about 217,730 new cases of prostate cancer and about 32,050 deaths from prostate cancer. One man in six will get prostate cancer during his lifetime and one man in 36 will die of this disease. There are more than two million survivors of prostate cancer in the United States today. The death rate for prostate cancer is going down, as the disease is being caught early more and more often.
|Causes and Risk Factors|
|The exact cause of prostate cancer is not known. But based on what we do know, some cases might be prevented.|
|Age: Age is the strongest risk factor for prostate cancer. The chance of getting prostate cancer increases quickly after a man reaches age 50. Almost two out of every three prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65|
|Race: For unknown reasons, prostate cancer is more common in African-American men than in men of other races. African-American men are also more likely to have an advanced case and are more likely to die of the disease. Prostate cancer occurs less frequently in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites, though it is not known why|
|Geography: Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe and a few other places. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. The reasons for this are not clear|
|Family history: Prostate cancer seems to run in some families. Men with close family members who have had prostate cancer are more likely to get it, especially if their relatives were young when diagnosed with the disease|
|Genes: Scientists have found some inherited genes that seem to raise prostate cancer risk, but they probably account for only a small number of cases overall|
|Diet: The exact role of diet in prostate cancer is not clear, but men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products seem to have increased risk of getting prostate cancer. These men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, which may also be a contributing factor|
|Obesity: Some, but not all, studies have found that obese men may be at greater risk for having more advanced prostate cancer and of dying from the disease|
|Exercise: Some studies have found that high levels of physical activity, particularly in older men, may lower the risk of advanced prostate cancer. However, more research is needed|
|Infection and inflammation of the prostate: Some studies suggest inflammation of the prostate gland may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, but other studies have not found such a link||