Home > Health A – Z > Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate.

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It lies just below the bladder (the organ that collects and empties urine) and in front of the rectum (the lower part of the intestine). It is about the size of a walnut and surrounds part of the urethra (the tube that empties urine from the bladder). The prostate gland makes fluid that is part of the semen.

Prostate cancer is found mainly in older men. In the U.S., about 1 out of 5 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer... Read more about Prostate Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Venous Thromboembolism: Reducing the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism (Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism) in Patients Admitted to Hospital

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a term used to include the formation of a blood clot (a thrombus) in a vein which may dislodge from its site of origin to travel in the blood, a phenomenon called embolism. A thrombus most commonly occurs in the deep veins of the legs; this is called deep vein thrombosis. A dislodged thrombus that travels to the lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism.

Five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitor drugs, such as finasteride or dutasteride, reduce the risk prostate cancer in men who have routine prostate cancer screening

Five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitor drugs have potential as chemopreventive agents. Reduction of prostate cancer was similar between racial groups, age groups (aged 65 years or older compared to younger age groups) and those with or without a family history of prostate cancer. Reduction of prostate cancer was limited to men who had a baseline prostate specific antigen (PSA) values less than 4.0 ng/mL. However, use of five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitors may also increase the risk of high‐grade prostate cancer in men undergoing prostate cancer screening. Future research is needed to determine if the use of five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitors can reduce prostate cancer in men who are not being regularly screened for prostate cancer. Future studies should also determine whether five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitors can reduce death and prostate cancer death and further evaluate the risk of developing high‐grade prostate cancer.

Chemotherapy for men with prostate cancer who have not responded to hormone therapy

Men with advanced prostate cancer and painful bone metastases are a difficult group of patients to treat. Data from recent randomised trials of chemotherapy suggest an improvement in overall survival, pain relief, and quality of life with this form of therapy. Side effects are common and can be severe. Chemotherapy offers a treatment option for men with hormone‐refractory prostate cancer (HRPC), but the decision to treat should be carefully considered by the patient and clinician. More studies are needed to find new and better agents.

See all (582)

Summaries for consumers

Five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitor drugs, such as finasteride or dutasteride, reduce the risk prostate cancer in men who have routine prostate cancer screening

Five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitor drugs have potential as chemopreventive agents. Reduction of prostate cancer was similar between racial groups, age groups (aged 65 years or older compared to younger age groups) and those with or without a family history of prostate cancer. Reduction of prostate cancer was limited to men who had a baseline prostate specific antigen (PSA) values less than 4.0 ng/mL. However, use of five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitors may also increase the risk of high‐grade prostate cancer in men undergoing prostate cancer screening. Future research is needed to determine if the use of five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitors can reduce prostate cancer in men who are not being regularly screened for prostate cancer. Future studies should also determine whether five‐alpha‐reductase inhibitors can reduce death and prostate cancer death and further evaluate the risk of developing high‐grade prostate cancer.

Chemotherapy for men with prostate cancer who have not responded to hormone therapy

Men with advanced prostate cancer and painful bone metastases are a difficult group of patients to treat. Data from recent randomised trials of chemotherapy suggest an improvement in overall survival, pain relief, and quality of life with this form of therapy. Side effects are common and can be severe. Chemotherapy offers a treatment option for men with hormone‐refractory prostate cancer (HRPC), but the decision to treat should be carefully considered by the patient and clinician. More studies are needed to find new and better agents.

Lycopene for the prevention of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is a common form of cancer affecting men worldwide. Pharmaceutical interventions, such as 5‐alpha reductase inhibitors, have been identified as potentially preventing prostate cancer incidence in men. Many men modify lifestyle and consume complementary and alternative medicines to maintain better health and prevent disease. Lycopene is a supplement that has been suggested may assist in the prevention of prostate cancer due to its antioxidant effects. The objective of this systematic review was to identify the effectiveness of lycopene in the prevention of prostate cancer. This review identified 3 relevant studies, comprising 154 participants in total. Two of the studies were assessed to be of 'high' risk of bias. Meta‐analysis of two studies indicated no statistical difference in prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels between men randomised to receive lycopene and the comparison group (MD ‐0.34, 95% CI ‐2.01 to 1.32). None of the studies assessed prostate cancer mortality. No other meta‐analyses were possible since other outcomes assessed only had one study contributing data.

See all (85)

Terms to know

Bladder
The organ that stores urine.
Prostate
A gland in the male reproductive system. The prostate surrounds the part of the urethra (the tube that empties the bladder) just below the bladder, and produces a fluid that forms part of the semen.
Rectum
The last several inches of the large intestine closest to the anus.
Reproductive System
The organs involved in producing offspring. In women, this system includes the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the uterus, the cervix, and the vagina. In men, it includes the prostate, the testes, and the penis.
Urethra
The tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

More about Prostate Cancer

Photo of an adult man

Also called: Malignant prostatic tumour, Malignant tumour of the prostate, Cancer of the prostate, Malignant prostatic tumor, Malignant tumor of the prostate

Other terms to know: See all 5
Bladder, Prostate, Rectum

Related articles:
Information for Health Professionals
Cancer: Anxiety and Distress

Keep up with systematic reviews on Prostate Cancer:

Create RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...