What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is the result of abnormal cells in the prostate multiplying when they shouldn’t, causing a lump or tumour.
These cancerous cells can grow throughout the prostate and through the capsule surrounding the prostate.
They can spread to sites well away from the prostate, such as to a bone or to a lymph node. This is known as a metastasis or secondary prostate cancer.
How quickly does prostate cancer progress?
Prostate cancer is usually slow growing and only occasionally changes more over a shorter time.
However, as men are living longer and prostate cancer can progress to cause more problems, treatment is often recommended to eradicate cancerous cells whilst still localised.
Modern treatments, including radiation therapy as well as a range of systemic therapies, have made a huge improvement to the long-term outlook.
Early detection and careful monitoring and/or treatment are important for many men who have prostate cancer.
What causes prostate cancer?
The exact cause of prostate cancer isn’t known. However, some factors are known to increase the risk. Prostate cancer is rare before age 40, and the risk increases after age 50.
A strong family history of prostate cancer is linked to an increased risk. This is stronger in people who have specific genetic conditions, which are also associated with breast and ovarian cancer in women (BRCA mutations).
It’s not clear whether diet has any influence on prostate cancer risk.