THE PROSTATE is the gland below a man’s bladder, and in front of the rectum, that is part of the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer is common among older men. It is rare in men younger than 40. Risk factors for developing prostate cancer include being over 65 years of age, family history, being African-American, and some genetic changes.
As men age, the prostate may get bigger and block the urethra or bladder. A normal prostate does not block the flow of urine from the bladder. An enlarged prostate presses on the bladder and urethra and blocks the flow of urine.
Some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly. In fact, autopsy studies show that many older men (and even some younger men) who died of other diseases also had prostate cancer that never affected them during their lives. In many cases, neither they nor their doctors even knew they had it.