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Prostate Cancer, Support Groups  and Prostate Cancer Treatment

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Knowing what the prostate is and what it looks like will help you construct your treatment plan. 

The prostate gland has a significant role in man's reproductive system. It is also part of the urinary system.  It is a small gland that helps make  semen less viscuss so it can more easily bring sperm through the penis during ejaculation.

Prostate Cancer Location

The prostate is located just beneath the bladder, where urine is stored, and in front of the rectum. It encircles, like a donut, a section of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the penis. During ejaculation, semen is secreted by the prostate through small pores of the urethra's walls.

The prostate is made up of three lobes encased in an outer covering, or capsule. It is flanked on either side by the seminal vesicles, a pair of pouch-like glands that contribute secretions to the semen. Next to the seminal vesicles run the two vas deferens, tubes that carry sperm from the testicles. The testicles, in addition to manufacturing sperm, produce testosterone, a male sex hormone that controls the prostate's growth and function.


Prostate Cancer Anatomy

Base of the Prostate

The base is directed upward near the inferior surface of the bladder. The greater part of this surface is directly continuous with the bladder wall.

Apex of the Prostate

The apex is directed downward, and is in contact with the superior fascia of the urogenital diaphragm.

Regional Lymph Nodes

Hypogastric (Obturator)
Iliac--internal, external, NOS
Sacral--lateral, presacral, promontory (Gerota's), NOS
Pelvic, NOS

 prostate cancer

The prostate is divided into several lobes.

Anterior Lobe

The anterior lobe is used to describe the anterior portion of the gland lying in front of the urethra. It is devoid of glandular tissue being formed completely of fibromuscular tissue.

Median Lobe

The median lobe looks like a cone-shaped portion of the gland situated between the two ejaculatory ducts and the urethra.

prostate cancer

Lateral Lobes

The lateral lobes (right and left lobes) form the main mass of the gland and are continuous posteriorly. They are separated by the prostatic urethra.

Posterior Lobe

Some people use the posterior lobe  to describe the postero-medial part of the lateral lobes that can be palpated through the rectum during digital rectal exam (DRE).

Scientists divide the prostate up into different zones according to their function. The zones are Central (CZ), Peripheral (PZ) and Transitional (TZ).

prostate cancer

Prostate cancer can begin and spread from any of these zones. prostate-cancer_sam2.jpg(14450 bytes)

   Ninety-five percent of prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas which arise from glandular tissue. More rarely, cancer begins in the tissues surrounding the gland. These types include leiomyosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma.

   Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) is an abnormal change in prostate cells that eventually become malignant.

   Prostate carcinoma usually arises near the surface of the gland, where it may be felt by a doctor during a digital rectal examination (DRE).

   As the tumor grows, the prostate expands around the urethra and may cause urinary problems similar to BPH. By the time the tumor is large enough to cause symptoms, it has often spread beyond its capsule.

   Prostate cancer may invade surrounding fat and tissue, the seminal vesicles (which carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra), and/or the neck of the bladder. It may invade lymph nodes in the pelvic region. Later, prostate cancer can spread to the bones, primarily those in the spine, hip, pelvis, and chest. Metastasis often occurs in the lungs, liver, and adrenal glands.

  information last updated on October, 2006

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  Website updated on  April 2008
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