Prostate cancer is the malignant transformation of the glands within the prostate.
It is the second commonest cancer in men in Australia and was responsible for over 3300 deaths last year. There were approximately 20000 new cases diagnosed last year.
It is a disease that typically affects the periphery of the prostate gland. This is why early prostate cancer tends not to have any symptoms, as it does not narrow the outflow from the bladder. Narrowing is typically caused by benign (non-cancerous) prostate growth.
Prostate cancer is a very diverse disease, meaning that in some cases it is mild and non-life threatening, whilst in others it can pose a risk.
This often comes down to the grade of the cancer. In general, it is a slow growing cancer. Even if left untreated, it will often take over 10 years to cause death.
This is why, the older you are, or the more medical problems you have, the less concern prostate cancer is. Controversy exists for this very reason, over prostate cancer.
Over treating cancer in patients that will never be affected by it, must be avoided. Much of the modern diagnostic and management tools we have, are designed to identify and treat only those at risk.