Prostate Cancer Basics

About Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It makes fluid that is discharged and helps protect the sperm during ejaculation (orgasm). It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It is about the size of a walnut in younger men but can increase in size as a man ages. The urethra that carries urine runs through the middle of the prostate.

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer 

The following risk factors may increase your chance of developing the disease.

  • Being 50 years of age or older 
    The chance of having prostate cancer increases after age 50.
  • Being African American
    Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races.
  • Family history
    Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease.
  • Diet
    A high-fat diet and obesity may increase your risk. 


The medical term for the typical cancer that starts in the prostate is adenocarcinoma. 

Other types of cancer can also start in the prostate gland, including sarcomas, small cell carcinomas and transitional cell carcinomas, but these are quite rare. If you have prostate cancer, it is most likely to be adenocarcinoma.