Prostate Disease and Condition Management
The prostate is a walnut-shaped organ that is found immediately below a man's bladder. It surrounds the urethra (the tube connecting the bladder and the penis) through which a man urinates. The size of the prostate changes over time and with many men gets larger. The changes can be due to malignant (cancer) or non-malignant reasons.
The function of the prostate is to help with sexual activity. It produces a whitish glandular secretion which collects within the prostate and is fed into the urethra during ejaculation. This secretion helps the motility of sperm in the urethra and makes up about a third of the seminal fluid. The prostate gland also produces a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA). PSA exists in the blood and is used for detection, staging, prognosis and monitoring of prostate cancer.
The growth of the prostate and control of it how it works are based on levels of the male sex hormone testosterone. Testosterone is produced almost entirely by the testicles, although small amounts are also produced by the adrenal glands. As long as the body produces testosterone, prostate cancer will continue to grow and spread. At a certain point, there are prostate cancers that will progress despite any type of effort put in place to limit the amount of testosterone produced. These tumors are stated to be hormone refractory.
Zone of the Prostate
- Peripheral Zone: The gland's largest zone, this is the part the urologist feels during a rectal exam and is where most prostate cancers begin to grow (70%).
- Central Zone: 5% to 20% of prostate cancer begins in the zone. Peripheral cancers rapidly invade the central zone.
- Transition Zone: Where benign prostatic hyperplasia mostly occurs but 20% to 50% of prostate cancer starts in this zone.
- Periurethral: Cancer is rarely found here.
Diseases & Conditions