The prostate is a small organ present only in males. Only men develop prostate cancer. The prostate is normally about 3 cm long (slightly more than 1 inch) and lies below the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries sperm and urine out of the penis. It produces a thin, milky fluid that is added to the sperm at the time of ejaculation. Older men often have an enlarged prostate, which is a noncancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) that causes urinary symptoms such as frequency and poor flow. Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation in which they grow and multiply without normal controls.
In western countries, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is responsible for the second highest number of deaths after lung cancer. In India too, it is among the top three most common tumors in men, as per most cancer registries in the country. A large proportion of these, are unfortunately diagnosed at late stages because of lack of awareness and cancer screening facilities in India.
Over the years, however, the death rate from this disease has shown a steady decline.This has occurred due to the introduction of the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test, which has enabled the detection of this disease at an early stage when the chances of complete cure are high. This has also been accomplished by the development of newer methods of treatment and the introduction of modern technology such as robotic surgery.
It is now possible for most men with prostate cancer to live long fulfilling lives. Latest research, technology and treatments have transformed a dreaded disease into a completely curable or controllable condition with which the affected men can live many years or even their entire natural life.
The ideal treatment for prostate cancer depends on a lot of factors such as the stage of the disease and the overall medical condition of the patient. It is extremely important to understand all the treatment options and to discuss them with your doctor to arrive at the one that suits you the best.