March 1, 2017
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Prostate Cancer (cont.)

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What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is cancer of prostate gland. The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland present only in men, found in the pelvis, wrapped around the urethra (the tube through which urine exits the body). The prostate gland secretes part of the liquid portion of the semen, or seminal fluid, which carries sperm made by the testes. The fluid is essential to reproduction.

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer that develops in men, other than skin cancers, and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. In 2016, the American Cancer Society estimated that 180,890 men will be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer and 16,120 men will die from the disease -- though many of them had lived with the disease for years prior to their deaths.

Prostate cancer is comprised nearly always of adenocarcinoma cells -- cells that arise from glandular tissue. Cancer cells are named according to the organ in which they originate no matter where in the body we find such cells. Thus, if prostate cancer cells spread in the body to the bones, is not then called bone cancer. It is prostate cancer metastatic to the bones. Metastasis is the process of cancer spread through the blood or lymphatic system.

What causes prostate cancer?

The exact causes of prostate cancer are not known. Several risk factors for developing prostate cancer have been identified, but which of these risk factors cause a prostate cell to become cancerous is not fully known. For a cancer to develop, changes must occur in the chemicals that make up the DNA, which makes up the genes in the cell. The genes control how the cell works, for example, how quickly the cell grows, divides into new cells, and dies, as well as correcting any mistakes that occur in the DNA of the cell to keep the cell working normally. Cancer occurs when certain genes that either control the growth or death of the cell are affected, which results in abnormal cell growth and/or death. Genes are inherited (passed on from parents to their children) and thus some changes in the genes (gene mutations) that increase the risk of developing cancer may be inherited. For prostate cancer, approximately 5%-10% of prostate cancers are due to inherited gene changes. Several inherited genes have been identified that increase the risk of prostate cancer including: RNASEL, BRCA 1, and BRCA 2, DNA mismatch genes, and HoxB13. Gene changes may also be acquired (develop during the course of your life). These changes are not passed on to children. Such changes may occur when a cell is normally undergoing growth and division. It is thought that at times during normal cell growth, risk factors may affect the DNA of the cell.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/9/2016

Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/prostate_cancer/article.htm

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