The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located at the base of the penis just below the bladder and above the rectum. It surrounds the bladder neck and a portion of the urethra, and its function is to produce fluid that will transport semen during ejaculation. Though the shape and size of the prostate may vary, it is usually about two to three inches in diameter.

During a man's orgasm, fluid is secreted from the prostate and seminal vesicles into the urethra, where it mixes with sperm. The resulting mix is called semen, which is expelled from the penis during a man's climax. With age, abnormalities can arise in the prostate. The most common abnormalities are cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Unfortunately, there are often no signs for these conditions, and when symptoms do occur, they are similar for both.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 198,100 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States and that 31,500 men will die from this disease, making prostate cancer the number two cancer killer in men. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer, excluding skin cancers, in American men, and it is estimated that 1 in 6 men will develop clinically evident prostate cancer in their lifetimes.

Like other cancers, prostate cancer is a disease of the body's cells. Cancer is an abnormal growth of cells which may invade and destroy nearby tissues and organs or spread to other parts of the body. Though cancer may occur in any part of the prostate, it is most commonly found in the outer portions. The disease is most common among older men and its cause is unknown.

Like high blood pressure and heart disease, prostate cancer often lacks symptoms and can be viewed as a silent killer. In an effort to catch prostate cancer earlier, the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and the American Urological Association recommend periodic screening for men starting at age 50. Because of their increased risks, African Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin screening at age 40.

Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, the Department of Urology, and the Department of Radiation Oncology have launched a truly comprehensive program for malignant and benign disorders of the urinary tract, with a particular emphasis on prostatic malignancies.

A Dedicated Team
The multidisciplinary dedicated team includes highly specialized urologic oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, impotence specialists, pathologists, radiologists, and oncology nurses. Support staff and services including individual, family, and group support counseling are offered as part of the comprehensive treatment plan.

Screening and Surveillance
We treat individuals who have urinary symptoms as well as an elevated or rising PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen). Men with a family history of prostate cancer and African Americans are at an increased risk for prostate cancer, and they should start screening at age 40. Further studies and a surveillance schedule based upon an individual's risks will be recommended.

Diagnosis and Treatment
Our program offers state-of-the-art radiologic imaging techniques and pathologic diagnoses by a team of dedicated specialists. Based upon the diagnosis, stage, and patient preference, a full array of treatment options are made available to patients. Patients will meet with all the appropriate team members in a single visit and thoroughly review treatment recommendations and options, so that patients and family members fully understand the next steps.

For more information or to request a referral to a physician, e-mail us through the on-line Mount Sinai Health System Referral Service or call toll-free 1-800-420-4004.