Some information on Prostate Cancer

What is the prostate?

The prostate is a male sex gland. It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate is about the size of a walnut and weighs less than an ounce. It produces a thick fluid that forms part of the semen which nourishes and helps transport sperm. The prostate also helps control the rate of urine flow out of the bladder to the urethra (urine transport tube).

What is cancer?

The body is made up of many types of cells. For a healthy person, cells grow and divide to produce more cells when the body needs them. If the cells keep dividing when new cells are not needed, they form too much tissue which can form a clump called a tumor. The tumor can be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

What happens in cancerous tumors?

In malignant (cancerous) tumors, cells divide out of control. They invade and destroy nearby healthy tissue. When cancer spreads from the original tumor to other areas, it is called metastasis.

What are some signs of prostate problems?

Men with prostate problems may experience difficulty urinating, lower back pain, and general discomfort in the lower pelvic area. However, if men wait until they have symptoms of prostate cancer it is often too late. The lower back pain and discomfort in the lower pelvic area are often symptoms associated with disease that may have already progressed. Therefore, early detection is important with the annual blood PSA and annual digital rectal exam where the provider can actually feel the prostate for signs of prostate cancer, which would primarily be felt as a hardening, a nodule, something that clearly is out of place.

What are some of the current treatments?

Some treatment options for prostate cancer today include careful monitoring by a physician, prostatectomy (prostate removal), radiation therapy, and/or drug therapy.

You may contact Dr. Diptasri Mandal (e-mail or one of her research associates at (504) 568-4400 for more information. If you feel your family may qualify to participate, you may click on the form below, complete and submit.

Dr. Diptasri Mandal
Department of Genetics
533 Bolivar Street
New Orleans, LA 70112

Cancer Study Information Form

View article written by Dr. Mandal: "Genetics of Prostate Cancer: Role of Family History"