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What You Need To Know About Prostate Cancer

June 4, 2024
Patient holding blue ribbon in support of prostate cancer awareness

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men and the fourth most common cancer overall. The National Cancer Institute estimates there will be nearly 300,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the U.S. in 2024 alone. Around one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.

Still, as common as prostate cancer is, not enough people are aware of it. Early detection is key for treatment and positive outcomes. Richmond University Medical Center provides information on what someone needs to know about prostate cancer, including possible causes, symptoms, treatment options, and more:

What Is Prostate Cancer?

The prostate is a small, rubbery gland located deep inside the groin, below the bladder, and in front of the rectum. The tube that carries urine and semen out of the body through the penis known as the urethra passes through the center of the prostate. The purpose of the prostate is to supply part of the seminal fluid (semen), which mixes with sperm from the testes.

Prostate cancer occurs when the cells found in the prostate gland begin to grow out of control. While there are various types of prostate cancers, almost all are adenocarcinomas (a type of cancer that starts in mucus-producing cells). While other types of prostate cancer are rare, they can still occur, such as:

  • Small cell carcinoma (small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma)
  • Neuroendocrine tumors (including large cell carcinoma)
  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Sarcomas

The exact cause of prostate cancer is still unknown. However, experts and specialists all over the world are continuously researching this topic to lower prostate cancer rates.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

While researchers are still unsure what causes prostate cancer, many known risk factors increase the likelihood of developing the disease. Factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer include:


As a man ages, his risk of prostate cancer increases. The cancer is most common in men over the age of 50.


For reasons unknown, prostate cancer occurs more frequently in African American men and Caribbean men of African descent than in men of other races. Evidence shows that men of African descent are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.1 times more likely to develop advanced stages.

Family History

In some cases, patients with a blood relative, such as a parent, sibling, or child, with prostate cancer are at an increased risk of developing the disease themselves. However, while prostate cancer seems to run in some families, most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of it.

Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Warning Signs

It is very common for a patient with early-onset prostate cancer to not experience any symptoms. Therefore, most men are not aware they have the condition until it is detected during a routine medical screening.

If prostate cancer has become advanced and begun to spread beyond the gland or metastasize to other parts of the body, patients may experience the following:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • A slow or weakened urine stream
  • Blood present in the urine or semen
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • Bone pain
  • Erectile dysfunction

Patients who experience one or more of these symptoms should speak to their primary care physician right away.

Identifying and Treating Prostate Cancer

Like all forms of cancer, prostate cancer screenings and early detection are vital, as it is easier to treat in its earliest stages. Routine prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests and prostate exams are the most common ways to check for the disease. Physicians recommend men over the age of 50 should undergo prostate cancer screenings every year.

If screenings show signs of prostate cancer, urologists will further evaluate to provide an accurate diagnosis. Urologists may administer a series of tests to help determine the severity of the condition and which treatments are most appropriate.

Radiation therapy is a primary treatment method for prostate cancer and available at Richmond University Medical Center. This cancer treatment effectively destroys cancer cells using high-energy radiation from a linear accelerator to target tumor DNA. The oncology team may also use other treatment methods, such as:

Compassionate Prostate Cancer Treatment in Staten Island

The Richmond University Medical Center oncology team works closely with patients to develop a personalized treatment plan based on the patient’s specific diagnosis, overall health, and other factors. Conveniently located on Staten Island, our comprehensive services are intended to guide patients from diagnosis to recovery as comfortably as possible. Contact us today to learn more about prostate cancer, or to schedule an appointment for a screening.