What the Heck is a Prostate?

Every guy has one and it’s an important part of our sexual health, yet a lot of guys don’t really know the answer to the most basic question: What exactly is a prostate? Well, there’s no need to pull it out of your *ss, if you don’t know what it is. 

In a nutshell, the prostate is a walnut-shaped gland located in front of the rectum, and between the bladder and the penis that controls things like your pee flow and the volume of your ejaculate. The prostate grows naturally as men age, and for most guys, this isn’t a problem. But once you hit 40, it’s time to start paying attention.

“The prostate is very important for fathering children because of its role in producing the fluid that helps sperm survive in their ultimate journey,” says Dr. Larry Goldenberg, founder of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. “But after age 40, the prostate can become inflamed, grow, and block urine flow, or become cancerous. At this age, every man should investigate how he can keep his prostate healthy and ask his doctor about getting a blood test and digital rectal examination.”

Although only 1 in 10,000 men under age 40 is diagnosed with prostate cancer, the rate shoots up to 1 in 38 for ages 40 to 59, and 1 in 14 for ages 60 to 69. In fact, it’s the leading cause of men’s cancer in Canada: a whopping 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

And as scary as that fact is, the scariest part is that the vast majority of prostate cancers do not have any symptoms. Problems peeing are almost always due to non-cancerous causes. The one exception to this is seeing blood in the toilet bowl – this is a signal that requires attention because something nasty might be lurking.

The good news? If prostate cancer is detected and treated early, there’s a 95% survival rate. If you’re over 40, make sure you speak to your doctor about your prostate.

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Suzanne Mulligan-Born
September 25, 2015

Want a wife's perspective? Get your examination and PSA checked! My husband's friends used to joke that he was the poster boy for prostate cancer prevention. Having a few beers with the guys he would challenge anyone that had not been to the Dr for a screening. He went regularly. Then his psa started to rise. They then checked it every 3 months. It kept rising. Time to be referred to a surgeon...who checked his psa again. Then it was time for the big Q. Do you want the surgery since the prostate has to come out. BIG question. There are a lot of potential side effects, however having the cancer spread is also one. He (we) opted for the surgery. All went well until it was time to get the biopsy results. The cancer had spread to a lymph node. The 'poster child for prostate cancer prevention' had stage 4 cancer.

37 treatments of radiation; and now 2/3 years of hormone therapy (which basically kills the testosterone that the cancer feeds on) and in one more year we will see if that regime has been successful in keeping the cancer at bay.

IF he had not had regular checkups followed by the surgery my husband would likely have developed bone cancer by now - according to the doctors it is a common area for the prostate cancer to spread to. So no, the proactive work on his part did not have as positive an outcome as we would have liked, but it likely saved his life.

So get over it guys, get the examination and psa test!

Don't Change Much
October 19, 2015

Hi Suzanne,
Thank you for taking the time to share your experience and perspective. Your husband is very brave and we commend him for taking control of his health by getting regular check-ups. The more we all talk and share like you and your husband, the closer we’ll be to changing men’s health for the better.
Cheers!
Sam – Don’t Change Much

Jay Reynolds
October 20, 2015

Hi Suzanne, thanks for sharing your experience.
What I do not understand is why (what appears to be) so much time between the detection of the rise in his PSA and the visit to the surgeon?
Shouldn't he have gone directly to the surgeon when the rise in PSA persisted? It appears that wait and checking ever three months may have contributed to the worsening of his condition.
I am asking as a fifty eight year old man who will most likely be affected some time in the next few years.
Thanks again for sharing, and I will continue to keep an eye on my PSA levels.
Jay