Prostate Disease: Introduction FeedbackA general introduction to Prostate Disease.Source: NHS Choices, 29 Oct 2013
Prostate disease is a general term used to describe a number of medical conditions that can affect the prostate gland.
The prostate gland
The prostate gland is a small gland only found in men. It opens into the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis), and sits just below the bladder and vas deferens (a pair of ducts through which sperm passes before ejaculation).
The prostate gland helps with the production of semen (the fluid that transports sperm). It produces a thick, white fluid that's liquefied by a special protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The fluid is mixed with sperm, produced by the testicles, to create semen.
There are a number of conditions that can affect the prostate gland including:
- prostate enlargement
- inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis)
- prostate cancer
Below is a summary of these conditions, plus links to more detailed information about each of them.
Prostate enlargement is a common condition associated with ageing. About a third of all men over 50 years of age will have symptoms of prostate enlargement (see below).
The urethra is a tube that runs from the bladder through the prostate to the end of the penis. Urine flows through the urethra and out of the body when a man urinates. If the prostate becomes enlarged it can place pressure on the urethra, making it more difficult for the bladder to empty.
An enlarged prostate can cause symptoms that can affect the normal pattern of urination. For example, it can:
- make it difficult for you to start urinating
- weaken the flow of urine or cause 'stopping and starting'
- cause you to strain to pass urine
- cause you to pee more frequently
- wake you up frequently during the night to pee
A simple treatment for prostate enlargement is to reduce the amount you drink before you go to bed.
Medications, such as alpha blockers, are also available to help relax the prostate gland muscles, or reduce its size, making it easier to urinate.
In severe cases that fail to respond to medication, the inner part of the prostate gland that is blocking the urethra can be surgically removed.
Read more about prostate enlargement.
Prostatitis is a poorly understood condition where the prostate gland becomes inflamed (red and swollen). Inflammation often occurs as a response to infection, but in most cases of prostatitis no evidence of infection can be found.
Symptoms of prostatitis include:
- pelvic pain
- testicular pain
- pain when urinating (this is less common and more likely with a urinary tract infection)
- pain when ejaculating semen
- pain in the perineum (the area between the anus and back of the scrotum), which is often worse when sitting, particularly on hard chairs and bicycle saddles
Prostatitis is thought to affect up to 3 in 20 men (15%) at some point in their lives. Although it can affect men of any age, it is more common in men between 30-50 years of age.
Prostatitis can be treated using a combination of painkillers and a type of medication known as an alpha-blocker, which can help relieve the symptoms.
Read more about prostatitis.
In the UK, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year.
Your chances of developing prostate cancer increase with age. Most cases occur in men who are 50 years of age or older.
The causes of prostate cancer are unknown, but risk factors include age, ethnic origin and family history.
The symptoms of prostate cancer are similar to those of prostate enlargement and include:
- needing to pee more frequently (often during the night)
- needing to rush to the toilet
- difficulty starting to urinate (hesitancy)
- straining or taking a long time while peeing
- weak flow
- feeling that your bladder has not emptied fully
The outlook for prostate cancer is generally good because, unlike many other types of cancer, it usually progresses very slowly. Many men die with prostate cancer, rather than as a result of having it.
If treated early, prostate cancer can often be cured. Treatments include:
- surgery to remove the prostate gland
- radiotherapy - using radiation to kill the cancerous cells
- hormone therapy - using medication to block the effects of testosterone (the hormone that stimulates prostate cancer)
These treatments carry the risk of significant side effects including:
- loss of libido (sexual desire)
- erectile dysfunction (the inability to obtain or maintain an erection)
- urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control)
For this reason, many men choose to delay treatment until there is a significant risk of the cancer spreading.
It's usually not possible to cure the cancer if it spreads from the prostate gland to other parts of the body (a process known as metastasis). In this case, the aim of treatment will be to relieve the symptoms and prolong life.
Read more about prostate cancer.
Prostate Disease: Guidance FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Prostate Disease from producers of guidance information.
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Lower urinary tract symptoms: The management of lower urinary tract symptoms in men - guidance (CG97)National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 May 2010
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...life, yet few men know anything about their prostate or what can go wrong with it Prostate disease is a general term used to describe a number of medical conditions that can affect the prostate gland. The prostate gland The prostate...
NHS Choices, 29 October 2013 - Publication type: general
...high-dose boost to the prostate in locally advanced disease. Basis for recommendation...asymptomatic men with metastatic disease whose prostate-specific antigen level...from carcinoma of the prostate). Wasting diseases (with the exception...
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Enzalutamide for metastatic hormone‐relapsed prostate cancer previously treated with a docetaxel‐containing regimen - guidance (TA316)
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National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 15 July 2014
...in 2010. Prostate cancer is predominantly a disease of older men...metastatic prostate cancer? Outcomes...are biochemical disease-free survival...with metastatic disease of different...involving the prostate. Men with...
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Abiraterone for castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer previously treated with a docetaxel-containing regimen - guidance (TA259)
...resistant metastatic prostate cancer in adults, only if: their disease has progressed...with metastatic disease and could die of prostate cancer without...castration resistant prostate cancer in adult men whose disease has progressed...
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 01 June 2012
...diseases in men with prostate cancer: results from...and thromboembolic diseases are scarce. We investigated...risk of thromboembolic disease in men with prostate...for thromboembolic disease were maintained when...Interpretation All men with prostate cancer were at higher risk of thromboembolic diseases, with the highest...risk of thromboembolic disease. Thromboembolic disease...
14 April 2010 - Publisher: Lancet Oncology - Publication type: News - News
Comparative effectiveness of aggressive versus nonaggressive treatment among men with early-stage prostate cancer and differing comorbid disease burdens at diagnosis
...with early-stage prostate cancer and differing comorbid disease burdens at diagnosis... the Urologic Diseases in America Project...and the Urologic Diseases in America Project...differing comorbid disease burdens at diagnosis...differing comorbid disease burdens at diagnosis... the Urologic Diseases in America Project...
15 May 2014 - Publisher: Cancer - Publication type: Other primary research
...clinically localized disease Clinical Review Prostate cancer screening...who could avoid a prostate biopsy and detection...clinically insignificant disease, while still detecting...those with low risk disease, prostate cancer mortality...
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...JA, Stone NN. Disease-specific survival...brachytherapy management of prostate cancer. Int J Radiat...and cardiovascular disease during androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. J Clin...and cardiovascular disease during androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer. J Clin...
26 August 2009 - Publisher: JAMA - Publication type: News - News
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