The more you know about the normal development and function of the prostate, where it’s located, and what it’s attached to, the better you can understand how prostate cancer develops and impacts a man’s life over time—due either to cancer growth or as a result of treatments.
- Normal Anatomy – The normal prostate is a small, squishy gland about the size of a walnut (20 milliliters). It sits under the bladder and in front of the rectum. The urethra—the narrow tube that runs the length of the penis and carries both urine and semen out of the body—runs directly through the prostate. The rectum, or lower end of the bowel, sits just behind the prostate and the bladder.
- Normal Physiology – The prostate is not essential for life, but it’s important for reproduction. It seems to supply substances that facilitate fertilization and sperm transit and survival. Enzymes like PSA are actually used to loosen up semen to help sperm reach the egg during intercourse. (Sperm is not made in the prostate, but rather the testes.)
- Prostate Zones – The prostate is divided into several anatomic regions, or zones. Most prostate cancer develops from the peripheral zone near the rectum. That’s why a digital rectal exam (DRE) is a useful screening test.
More information about THE PROSTATE can be found on the Prostate Cancer Foundation website including treatment-related changes to urinary function, bowel function, sexual function, and fertility.
7 BASICS ABOUT PROSTATE CANCER
- THE PROSTATE
- RISK FACTORS
- PREVENTION & SYMPTOMS
- EARLY DETECTION & SCREENING
- UNDERSTANDING A DIAGNOSIS
- TREATMENT OPTIONS
- LIVING WITH ADVANCED DISEASE
The information above has been supplied by the Prostate Cancer Foundation. For more information about prostate cancer, or to find out more about the Prostate Cancer Foundation, visit www.pcf.org.