What is a prostate?

Firstly, an update on my moustache – it’s looking a lot more like Clark Gable than Gomez Addams but frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!

In my first article, I wrote about testicular cancer which often affects young men before they turn 40 years old, this article is about prostate cancer which often affects men after the age of 40.

So what is a prostate? I’ve never heard of it other than when someone mentions prostate cancer.

Here is some information from the Movember Foundation:

The prostate gland is usually the size and shape of a walnut and grows bigger as you get older. It sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra, which is the tube men urinate and ejaculate through. Its main job is to help make semen – the fluid that carries sperm.

Prostate cancer occurs when some of the cells in the prostate reproduce far more rapidly than normal, resulting in a tumour. Prostate cancer often grows slowly to start with and may never cause any problems. But some men have prostate cancer that is more likely to spread. These prostate cancer cells, if left untreated, may spread from the prostate and invade distant parts of the body, particularly the lymph nodes and bones, producing secondary tumours in a process known as metastasis.

1 in 6 Australian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Now that we know what a prostate gland is, what should we be looking out for?

Here are some of the signs and symptoms that you may experience:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t panic as it could be something else but, see a GP as soon as possible.

However, not all men will experience these symptoms. Signs of prostate cancer are often detected by a doctor during a routine check-up – and no it doesn’t involve probing in uncomfortable areas.

Once you have reached the age of 40, speak to your doctor about getting checked through a Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test. A PSA test is a routine blood test which is used to detect prostate cancer.

Like most diseases, early detection is key, so don’t delay in getting yourself checked out.

To help stop men dying too young, you can donate here or share this post with a man in your life to spread awareness of prostate cancer.