The Basics about Prostate Cancer

What is the prostate gland anyway?

The prostate gland is found only in men.  It is walnut sized in a healthy young man, but can enlarge and become lime sized or even lemon sized.  It is located just below the bladder and it surrounds the urethra, which is where the urine flowsthrough.  The prostate is a gland.  It produces some of the semen fluid and contracts during ejaculation.

What is cancer?

The human body is made up of trillions of cells, all cooperating together.  Sometimes a cell “goes rogue” and starts to ignore the rest of the body’s signals, and divides uncontrollably.  That is cancer. Read more here.

How long has the cancer been there for?

Usually cancer has to grow for at least a couple years before it becomes big enough to create a lump that can be felt on a rectal exam, or to produce a PSA that is high enough to be noticed on screening.  Read more here.

What symptoms does prostate cancer create?

Most prostate cancers cause no symptoms.  Many men have enlarged prostate glands and cancer at the same time, and the enlarged prostate gland can cause slowing of the urine stream and more frequent urination.  Large prostate cancers can cause prostate pain and can put pressure on the urine flow.  Prostate cancers that have spread can cause pain in the bones, especially in the low back, hips, and pelvic bones.

What happens to cancer cells when they die?

A dead cancer cell is harmless.  It gets broken down into nutrients like any other dead cell in the body.  Read more.

What happens to the prostate gland after radiation therapy?

The prostate will shrink in size, become scarred, and will no longer function normally.  The ejaculation will be dry or nearly dry afterwards.  Read more.

Am I radioactive or contagious?

No!  There is only radiation present when you are in the treatment room and the beam is turned on.  Cancer is not contagious.  There are no restrictions about who you can be around.  Read more.

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