Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Some prostate cancers develop slowly, so there may be no signs you have it for many years, whilst others grow more rapidly. Symptoms often only become apparent when your prostate gland is large enough to affect the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis). When this happens, you may notice things like an increased need to urinate, straining while urinating and a feeling that your bladder has not fully emptied. Although these symptoms shouldn’t be ignored, they do not mean that you definitely have prostate cancer. It is more likely that they are caused by something else, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (also known as BPH or prostate enlargement).
The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis found only in men. It's located between the penis and the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The main function of the prostate is to help in the production of semen. It produces a thick white fluid that is mixed with the sperm produced by the testicles, to create semen.
The causes of prostate cancer are largely unknown. However, certain things can increase your risk of developing the condition. The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 50 or older.
For reasons not yet understood, prostate cancer is more common in men of African-Caribbean or African descent, and less common in men of Asian descent. Men who have first degree male relatives (such as a father or brother) affected by prostate cancer are also at slightly increased risk.
The chance of a man in the UK dying of prostate cancer is now at around three per cent.