The Prostate - What can go wrong?
Quite a lot unfortunately, but on the bright side, the majority of prostate problems are caused by enlargement or inflammation of the gland, nothing whatever to do with cancer. They are generally easily treated and not regarded as life threatening.
BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia)
This condition is caused by the prostate becoming enlarged (quite common in men over 60). The gland is situated close to the urethra, the tube that carries urine and semen through the penis. As the gland swells it starts to press on the urethra gradually restricting the flow of urine, rather like treading on a hosepipe. This often causes discomfort and in bad cases, when there is serious retention of urine in the bladder, quite severe pain. There are several treatments available to cure this problem.
The prostate is also prone to infection in some men and this condition is know as Prostatitis. It can cause pain in the pelvis, genitals, back passage and on ejaculation. It can also cause fever.
Prostate cancer is a condition where the cells within the prostate begin to divide and grow in an uncontrolled manner and form tumours. Precisely why this happens is not clear. We do know that risk may be increased 3 to 5 fold where there is any family history of the disease and may be increased 7 fold where there is family evidence of breast cancer.
If the tumours are localised, that is contained within the gland, there is a wider choice of treatment options and a better than 80% chance of a complete cure. If the cancer escapes outside the gland it is generally said to be advanced and incurable although in many cases controllable.