The Prostate Gland- What is it?
The Prostate gland is a male reproductive organ located immediately below the bladder and just in front of the rectum. Its main function is to produce fluid which protects and enriches sperm. In younger men with normal prostate gland it is about the size of a walnut. It is doughnut shaped as it surrounds the beginning of the urethra, the tube that conveys urine from the bladder to the penis. The nerves that control erections (neurovascular bundles) surround the prostate on either sides.
Prostate cancer statistics
Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer diagnosed after skin cancer in men over the age of 50. Every year, around 20, 000 Australian men are diagnosed and more than 3,000 die of the disease, making prostate cancer the second largest cause of male cancer deaths, after lung cancer. It accounts for approximately 30% of cancers diagnosed each year in Australian men. The incidence of prostatic cancer increases with age. In Australia, 1 in 6 men will develop prostate cancer by the age of 85. The incidence is highest in North West Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. It has been estimated that around 120,000 Australian men are living with prostate cancer, and it is predicted that the number will increase to 267,000 by 2017.
Most men with prostate cancer do not have a family history of prostate cancer. Only about 10 percent of younger men who develop prostate cancer have a positive family history of the disease. If you have a brother or father with prostate cancer, the risk is about double the average. If you have an immediate relative (brother or father) as well as a second degree relative (uncle or cousin), the risk increases to 4 times. With 3 close relatives, the risk approaches 100%.