The prostate gland is an organ that surrounds the urinary urethra in men. It secretes fluid which mixes with sperm to make semen. The urethra carries urine from the bladder, through the prostate gland to the penis.
With the exception of skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men in the United States. Early detection may result from a blood test called a PSA (prostate-specific antigen), and/or a digital rectal exam. The digital rectal exam checks the rear surface of the prostate gland for any abnormalities. A lump or hardness found during the exam might be a sign of prostate cancer.
There are two main surgical methods used for removing the prostate gland. The first method is called the "perineal" method. An incision is made in the perineum, which is the area between the base of the scrotum and the anus.
The second surgical method of prostatectomy is called the "suprapubic" approach. An incision is made in the abdomen, just below the umbilicus, which extends downward to the pubic bone.
The suprapubic approach allows for removal of the lymph nodes and the ability to perform a nerve sparing modification that might prevent impotence post surgery.
Patients with prostate cancer might require radiation therapy after their surgery. Results depend on the extent of their disease, and the response of the tumor to resection (removal) and radiotherapy.
Reviewed By: Jennifer Sobol, DO, Urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.