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Knowledge Network - Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Definition of prostate cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the prostate (a gland in the male reproductive system found below the bladder and in front of the rectum). Prostate cancer usually occurs in older men.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men in the United States, and the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

Tests to detect (find) prostate cancer that are being studied include the following:

Digital rectal exam

Digital rectal exam (DRE) is an exam of the rectum. The doctor or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the lower part of the rectum to feel the prostate for lumps or anything else that seems unusual.

Prostate-specific antigen test

A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a test that measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made mostly by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer. The level of PSA may also be high in men who have an infection or inflammation of the prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH; an enlarged, but noncancerous, prostate).

Scientists are studying the combination of PSA testing and digital rectal exam as a way to get more accurate results from the screening tests.

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