What is a prostate? 5 things you should know

01 September 2018, Tim Burton 
Our research reveals that two thirds of Brits do not know what a prostate does. Knowing about your body helps you to know if something is wrong with it. So, here's your quick guide to the prostate. 

Prostate cancer is being spoken about more and more these days. As the most common cancer in men, it is starting to get the recognition it deserves.

However, despite this rise in prominence, a recent poll run by The Urology Foundation shows that two thirds of us don’t think we know what a prostate does.

With that in mind, here’s 5 things you need to know about the prostate.

  1. What does it do?

The prostate is a part of the male reproductive organs. Its main function is during sex. When ejaculating, sperm is mixed with fluid from the prostate gland which improves the chances of pregnancy.

This fluid also has the added bonus of preventing infection in the urethra and makes up the majority of semen, with only around 2-5% of it being sperm.

  1. Where is it?

It is just below the bladder and surrounds the urethra (the tube that takes urine out of the body through the penis). It starts out small in young boys but will eventually grow to be the size of a walnut in a healthy male, with a volume of approx. 20ml.

  1. What causes it to become cancerous?

There are a few factors that contribute to your chances of having prostate cancer, chief among them is age; older men are far more likely to have prostate cancer. You are also more likely to be prone to prostate cancer if you are of Afro-Caribbean descent, are overweight, have a family history of it, or even if your mother or sister has had breast cancer.

  1. How do I know if I have prostate cancer?

Men with prostate disease may have no symptoms at all or they might experience a variety of different symptoms. You should book an appointment with your GP if you have problems peeing, if you pee often, have pain when peeing or ejaculating, have blood in your urine or semen, or find it difficult to get or maintain an erection.  These symptoms can also be caused by other things that aren’t prostate cancer or prostate disease, but it is a good idea to get it checked out so you can get the right treatment if you need it.

  1. Prostate cancer isn’t always deadly

Prostate cancer can often be very slow growing and will have very little impact on your quality of life. It is when the cancer spreads that prostate cancer becomes the most deadly. Many men die with prostate cancer, not because of it. This means treatment isn’t always necessary but medical professionals will monitor it very closely and treat it if it shows signs of getting worse. None of this means you can ignore it, however. If you're concerned, see your GP straight away!

If you want to support our fight against prostate cancer, you can donate today and share this article using #urologyawareness

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