Understanding Your Prostate

Prostate Cancer

What does the prostate do?

The prostate gland is located below the bladder and is the size of a mandarin in most men. It produces seminal fluid important for reproduction. It sits very close to the muscles controlling urinary continence and the nerves responsible for penile erection.

What is PSA?

PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) is an enzyme produced by the prostate gland. PSA liquefies semen after it is ejaculated. PSA levels in the blood can rise in the presence of prostate cancer and other benign conditions such as prostatic enlargement and prostatic inflammation.

What if the PSA is elevated?

A persistently elevated PSA or an abnormal feeling prostate on examination often leads to a recommendation for prostate MRI or biopsy.

What if Prostate Cancer is Detected?

If cancer is detected then we will discuss the various management options open to you, organise any further investigations which may be required and give you written information to take away and read. The best management option depends upon the characteristics of your cancer, your health and age.

Active Surveillance: For small, slow growing cancers a simple monitoring strategy (Active Surveillance) may be an option.

Surgery and Radiotherapy: the pros and cons of these treatments for you will be outlined.

Watchful Waiting and Hormonal Therapy/Chemotherapy: Watchful waiting is a monitoring strategy used in older men in whom the cancer is unlikely to threaten their lifespan. Hormonal therapy and chemotherapy may be utilized to slow the growth of the cancer.

Benign Enlargement of the Prostate

Why does this occur?

Our prostate glands naturally enlarge throughout our life. The rate of growth and eventual size of the gland depends largely upon our age and genetic inheritance. An enlarged prostate can lead to bothersome urinary symptoms such as more frequent urgent urination, slow flow and more serious conditions including urinary infection, incontinence and stone formation.

What are the management options?

Initial management usually includes a discussion of lifestyle measure such as reducing caffeinated beverages. Following this there are several medications which may be used then finally surgery to relieve the obstruction to urinary flow.