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Government of Jamaica

Illnesses Covered

Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland found only in men. It is shaped like an upside down pyramid and is located between the bladder and the rectum. It surrounds the urethra the tube that takes urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

The prostate gland is very tiny at birth and it remains small until a boy goes through puberty. When a boy becomes a teenager, the level of the male hormone testosterone in the body rises and the prostate gland begins to grow. The prostate gland produces most of the fluid that is contained in semen (sex fluid).

Cancer of the prostate is one of the most common cancers in men. As men get older, their chances for developing the disease increases: more than 75 percent of the cases are found in men over 65 years of age. Most prostate cancers grow slowly, and if caught early, are considered highly treatable. However some tumors grow rapidly, spreading to other parts of the body, such as the bones. Once this occurs, successful treatment is relatively difficult.

Signs & symptoms

Prostate cancer usually is asymptomatic until it is in the advanced stage.
Some of the signs/symptoms include:

  • Painful or frequent urination may be a sign of prostate cancer.
  • Sudden decrease in the volume and force of the urinary stream.
  • Blood in the urine may also occur.
  • Pain in the back, hips, thighs or shoulders.
  • Weight loss and fatigue.

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