The prostate is a gland found only in men that plays an important role in the reproductive system. It is located just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.
The prostate gland produces fluid that is mixed with sperm to create semen. This fluid helps to nourish and protect the sperm as it travels through the female reproductive system.
As men age, the prostate gland may become enlarged, which can lead to problems with urination. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and is not cancerous. You may find it helpful to answer one of our validated questionnaires to objectively assess the severity of your symptoms - IPSS (regarding problems with urination), and ICIQ (regarding incontinence).
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer found in men. It is usually asymptomatic, though it can occasionally be associated with bleeding in the urine, problems with urination, or bony pain. Prostate cancer is usually detected through prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests.
Other common prostate problems include prostatitis, which is an inflammation of the prostate gland, and bladder stones, which are often caused by obstruction from an enlarged prostate.
PSA (prostate-specific antigen) screening has been shown to reduce prostate cancer mortality in men, and is recommended in most international guidelines. The Australian guidelines from the Prostate Cancer foundation recommend:
The decision to perform screening should be made after a discussion about advantages and disadvantages of screening
Start screening at 50 years of age, or 45 in high risk/concerned individuals, or 40 in very high risk men (father and 2 brothers)
Biennial PSA from 50-69y/o
Refer to a urologist if PSA>3.0