What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the prostate. The prostate glands function is to produce a white fluid called semen, that mixes with sperm produced by the testes. It also produces a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA) that turns the semen into liquid.

Prostate cancer generally affects men over 50 years old, but it can affect younger men too.

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What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease of the body’s cells. The human body is made up of many different types of cells and therefore cancer is not a single disease with a single cause or treatment.  There are more than 200 different types of cancer, each with their own diagnostic procedures and treatments. 

Normal cells in the body divide in a uniformed and controlled way.  When cells begin to grow out of control they divide and grow into a lump also known as a tumour.  Tumours are either benign or malignant.     In a benign tumour, the cells do not spread to other parts of the body and so are not cancerous. In a malignant tumour, the cancer cells have the ability to spread beyond the original area of the body.

Tests such as blood tests, biopsies and diagnostic investigations can all be used to determine the type of tumour.