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Prostate Cancer (Prostate Carcinoma)

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

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.

Radical prostatectomy (RP) versus watchful waiting (WW) for the treatment of localized prostate cancer: a review of the evidence

In this review the best available evidence comparing the effects of two treatment options for localised prostate cancer, namely radical prostatectomy (RP) which involves surgically removing the prostate gland versus a "watchful waiting" (WW) approach was examined. In this review, WW is defined as any conservative approach to the management of prostate cancer whereby a decision is made to provide no initial treatment and to monitor the patient. If the monitoring procedure provides evidence of disease progression, then palliative treatment is offered to the patient, which is intended to alleviate disease symptoms without attempting to cure the disease.

Starting androgen suppression (hormone) therapy early, before advanced prostate cancer starts progressing may improve chances of longer survival.

The prostate gland is part of the male sex gland and is a common site of cancer in older men. Treatments for prostate cancer include surgery and radiation therapy. Male hormones (androgens) stimulate prostate cancer growth. Hormone suppression therapy, decreasing the levels of these hormones, is therefore also used to try to treat prostate cancer. It is not clear however whether it is better to start hormone treatment straight after diagnosis, or to wait until the disease progresses. The review found that early hormone suppression treatment decreased the progression of advanced prostate cancer and improved survival. Further studies are needed.

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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.

Radical prostatectomy (RP) versus watchful waiting (WW) for the treatment of localized prostate cancer: a review of the evidence

In this review the best available evidence comparing the effects of two treatment options for localised prostate cancer, namely radical prostatectomy (RP) which involves surgically removing the prostate gland versus a "watchful waiting" (WW) approach was examined. In this review, WW is defined as any conservative approach to the management of prostate cancer whereby a decision is made to provide no initial treatment and to monitor the patient. If the monitoring procedure provides evidence of disease progression, then palliative treatment is offered to the patient, which is intended to alleviate disease symptoms without attempting to cure the disease.

Starting androgen suppression (hormone) therapy early, before advanced prostate cancer starts progressing may improve chances of longer survival.

The prostate gland is part of the male sex gland and is a common site of cancer in older men. Treatments for prostate cancer include surgery and radiation therapy. Male hormones (androgens) stimulate prostate cancer growth. Hormone suppression therapy, decreasing the levels of these hormones, is therefore also used to try to treat prostate cancer. It is not clear however whether it is better to start hormone treatment straight after diagnosis, or to wait until the disease progresses. The review found that early hormone suppression treatment decreased the progression of advanced prostate cancer and improved survival. Further studies are needed.

See all (90)

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, Prostatic carcinoma, Carcinoma of the prostate

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

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