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Basic Information About Prostate Cancer

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer. Except for skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.

Many men with prostate cancer—especially those with tumors that have not spread beyond the prostate—die of other causes without ever having any symptoms from the cancer.

Medical illustration of the prostate

What Is Prostate Cancer?

When cancer starts in the prostate, it is called prostate cancer. The prostate is a part of the male reproductive system.

Photo of an African-American man

Who Is at Risk for Prostate Cancer?

All men are at risk for prostate cancer. The most common risk factor is age. Some men are at increased risk for prostate cancer.

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What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Different men have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all. See a list of possible symptoms.

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What Is Screening for Prostate Cancer?

Cancer screening means looking for cancer before it causes symptoms. Screening for prostate cancer begins with a blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.

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Should I Get Screened for Prostate Cancer?

If you are thinking about being screened, you and your doctor should consider your personal risk factors and how you value the potential benefits and harms of screening, diagnosis, and treatment.

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What Are the Benefits and Harms of Screening?

The goal of screening for prostate cancer is to find cancers that may be at high risk for spreading if not treated, and to find them early before they spread.

Photo of a pathologist examining a specimen under a microscope

How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?

If your prostate specific antigen test or digital rectal exam is abnormal, doctors may do more tests to find or diagnose prostate cancer.

Photo of a prostate cancer patient speaking to his radiologist

How Is Prostate Cancer Treated?

Different types of treatment are available for prostate cancer. You and your doctor will decide which treatment is right for you.