Understanding prostate cancer

Did you know prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men in America? It affects about 1 in 9 men.1 So, using an everyday example, you could think about it like this: during a baseball game, any 1 of the 9 in the field might be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Most often, that won't happen until they’re quite a bit older — it’s most commonly diagnosed in men who are in their 60s.1

The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland in the male reproductive system that makes fluid to support sperm. And, just like you grow with age, your prostate can grow with you. So, an enlarged prostate is often normal and called benign prostatic hyperplasia. It’s not time to worry until the cells in the prostate gland grow out of control and turn into cancer. If that happens, the first step is determining which type of prostate cancer is there.2

What are the types of prostate cancer?

Many cases of prostate cancer grow slowly and stay in the prostate. Sometimes men live without ever knowing they have it. Other times it may be more aggressive and may spread to the organs, lymph system or bones. The most common type (almost all cases) is called an adenocarcinoma.3 These cancerous tumors start in the gland cells that make fluid. (And actually, an adenocarcinoma can happen in any organ with cells that produce mucus, like the breast, lung and colon).4

Other kinds of prostate cancers exist, but are considered more rare. They include: small cell carcinomas, neuroendocrine tumors, transitional cell carcinomas and sarcomas.5

Who should I see if I'm concerned about prostate cancer?

Think you may have symptoms of prostate cancer? Schedule a visit with your primary provider (the doctor or provider you might see for your yearly physical). If they feel something suspicious during that exam or sees a high PSA level on your latest test, you may get some diagnostics done (like an ultrasound, MRI or biopsy) to learn more. If it turns out you have prostate cancer, your doctor may refer you to a urologist or oncologist to discuss treatment options. 13