The prostate is an exocrine gland of the male reproductive system, and exists directly under the bladder, in front of the rectum. An exocrine gland is one whose secretions end up outside the body e.g. prostate gland and sweat glands. It is approximately the size of a walnut.
In the vast majority of cases, the prostate cancer starts in the gland cells – this is called adenocarcinoma. In this article, prostate cancer refers just to adenocarcinoma.
Prostate cancer is mostly a very slow progressing disease. In fact, many men die of old age, without ever knowing they had prostate cancer – it is only when an autopsy is done that doctors know it was there. Several studies have indicated that perhaps about 80% of all men in their eighties had prostate cancer when they died, but nobody knew, not even the doctor.
Experts say that prostate cancer starts with tiny alterations in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells – Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN).
Doctors say that nearly 50% of all 50-year-old men have PIN. The cells are still in place – they do not seem to have moved elsewhere – but the changes can be seen under a microscope. Cancer cells would have moved into other parts of the prostate. Doctors describe these prostate gland cell changes as low-grade or high-grade; high grade is abnormal while low-grade is more-or-less normal.
If you are a man over 45, the following information could help save your life…
You have a 1 in 3 chance of developing prostate cancer during your lifetime. Believe me, these are not good odds — and this is not a disease you want to mess around with. In fact, prostate cancer is the second most deadly cancer for men in America. And it’s the leading cause of cancer-related death in men over age 75.
The good news is that there are signs to be alert for. If you or a man in your life notices any of these changes, it’s important to head to the doctor for a checkup sooner rather than later.