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Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer of the prostate gland. Prostate cancer actually refers to a wide spectrum of diseases, with some tumors being aggressive and others that act more benign. 

Prostate cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men.

Urination issues are the most common symptoms of the disease, though most cases are first detected by screening tests, such as a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. A formal diagnosis can only be made with tests such as an ultrasound-guided or MRI-targeted biopsy. Treatment options range from active surveillance (careful monitoring) to surgery and radiation and depend on your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you get prostate cancer?

    What causes prostate cancer is uncertain, but there are known risk factors, such as age or inherited genetic mutations. Roughly 80% of men are diagnosed after the age of 65. It develops more frequently in African Americans and Caribbean men of African ancestry. Having high levels of androgens (hormones) or being exposed to Agent Orange or occupational pesticides may also increase risk.

  • How do you prevent prostate cancer?

    It’s unknown what may help prevent prostate cancer, but lifestyle factors that may be helpful include eating a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables and low in red meat and dairy and exercising regularly. Discuss screenings with a physician if you are over age 45, or after age 40 if you have a family history of prostate cancer or gene mutations linked to prostate cancer.

  • Is prostate cancer curable?

    When prostate cancer is caught early, treatments can cure the disease. Also, many prostate cancers are considered non-aggressive and may never progress or cause symptoms. In these cases, careful monitoring of the tumor (active surveillance) for signs of progression may be recommended before considering surgery, radiation, and other therapies.

  • Is prostate cancer hereditary?

    About 5% to 10% of prostate cancers are hereditary, including inherited gene mutations such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, that are linked to other cancers. The chance that a prostate cancer is hereditary is increased if first-degree relatives have had prostate cancer.

Key Terms

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Page Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  5. American Cancer Society. Initial treatment of prostate cancer, by stage.

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  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What Is Prostate Cancer? Updated August 18, 2020.

  8. American Cancer Society. What tests can detect prostate cancer early? Updated August 1, 2019.