Dictionary > Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer

prostate cancer definition

Prostate cancer
n., ˈpɹɒsteɪt ˈkænsɚ
A form of cancer that develops in the prostate.
Background image credit: National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) from Bethesda, MD, USA, CC-by-2.0

Prostate Cancer Definition

Prostate cancer is cancer that develops in the prostate. The prostate is a small conical gland at the base of the male bladder. It is responsible for the production of seminal fluid. In men, prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. In the United States, it is the second leading cause of cancer death among men. (Ref. 1)


Common symptoms of prostate cancer include problems in passing urine (pain or interrupted flow, i.e. “stop-and-go”), blood in the urine or semen, low back pain, pain with ejaculation, shortness of breath, dizziness, fast heartbeat, and pale skin from anemia. (Ref. 2, 3) Family history for prostate cancer, age of over 65 years, and being African-American are some of the risk factors. (Ref. 3)

Detection can be done through digital rectal examinations and routine PSA (prostate-specific antigen) testing. A biopsy may be carried out to determine the cancer grade. (Ref. 2) Other diagnostic tests are transrectal ultrasound and transrectal MRI. (Ref. 2, 3)

Treatment will depend on the cancer stage. The common treatment options are as follows: (Ref. 2, 3)

• Watchful waiting
• Surgery
• Chemotherapy
• Radiation therapy
• Hormone therapy

Another form of therapy is biologic therapy (e.g. Sipuleucel-T). It involves the use of the patient’s immune system. (Ref. 2)

Novel treatments that are still under clinical study are as follows: (Ref. 2)

• Cryosurgery (uses an instrument to freeze and subsequently destroy cancer cells)
• HIgh-intensity-focused ultrasound therapy (uses ultrasound to destroy cancer cells)
• Proton beam radiation therapy (uses streams of protons to target tumors)
• Photodynamic therapy (uses a light-sensitive drug and laser light to kill cancer cells)

See Also


  1. ProstateCancer—Patient Version. (2020). National Cancer Institute; Cancer.gov. https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate
  2. ProstateCancer Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. (2019, June 12). National Cancer Institute; Cancer.gov. https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/patient/prostate-treatment-pdq
  3. ‌ProstateCancer. (2020). Medlineplus.Gov; National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/prostatecancer.html

Further reading

  • New At Home Prostate Cancer Test – BioTechniques. (2019, November 29). BioTechniques. https://www.biotechniques.com/diagnostics/sample-shower-shave-the-at-home-urine-test-that-could-revolutionize-prostate-cancer-screening/ (at-home urine test that could revolutionize prostate cancer screening)‌

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