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PROSTATE

The prostate is a gland of the male reproductive system. The prostate produces some of the fluid for semen, which transports sperm during the male orgasm.

Normally, the prostate is quite small—it is nearly the same size and shape as a chestnut. It is located in front of the rectum, just below the bladder, and wraps around the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out through the tip of the penis. The prostate is made up of approximately 30% muscular tissue, and the rest is glandular tissue.

Aging and the prostate

As a man gets older, his prostate may increase in size. This condition is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

 

By age 70, more than 40% of men will have enlargement of the prostate that can be felt during a physical examination. If the prostate grows large enough, it may press against the urethra and make the flow of urine weaker or slower.

An increase in the size of the prostate and a change in urine flow do not necessarily mean you have cancer; you may have BPH, an infection or another urologic condition. It is important to note that BPH is not cancer, nor has it been shown to increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, a man can have both BPH and prostate cancer.

Three common diseases of the prostate are: