Prostate Facts, Functions and Diseases

Updated On: 29 July, 2019

In This Article You Will Know:

  • What are the 6 distinguishable parts of the prostate?
  • How dangerous is prostate cancer?
  • Is prostate a single gland or a collection of several glands?
  • How can even the normal male hormones be problematic for the prostate?
  • What is the second main cause of cancer death in men?

Did you know the prostate gland is that essential part of the male reproductive system that a man rarely thinks about? It only gathers some attention when there is some problem or disease. And many factors can lead to a problem in this part of the body.


Here you will learn about prostate facts, structure, and function in the human body.

You will be surprised to know that even the influence of normal male hormones can cause the prostate to become enlarged or develop cancer. So, the most important thing should be to learn about the causes of prostate disease, especially cancer, so you can take measures to prevent it. Prostate cancer can be so dangerous that it has become the second leading cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer.

While scientists claim to have understood the structure and functioning of the walnut-sized gland, the latest research is focussing more on the causes, growth and treatment of prostate cancer. Robert L. Bard (2007) in “Prostate Cancer Decoded: Non-Invasive Breakthrough Treatments” makes some amazing revelations in this regard.

Structure and Location:

The prostate gland is a small, walnut-size organ that sits on the bottom of the pelvis just beneath the pouch for collecting and storing urine, the urinary bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which is a tube connecting the urinary bladder with the external urethral orifice (the urinary meatus).

Location Of Prostate

The very location/position of the gland can lead to problems later in the life of an individual. For example, the enlargement of the gland and development of cancer can squeeze down on the urethra, thus making it increasingly difficult to urinate.

You can read more about the structure of the prostate in the following section that is devoted to the anatomy of the gland.


The prostate anatomy shows that it consists of a collection of tiny glands which have been encased to make it look like a single organ – and it is one organ. To the exterior, there is a layer of fat, which encloses a thin capsule of fibrous tissue. This thin capsule of fibrous tissue, in turn, houses the small glands which collectively act as the prostate.

There are nerves and blood vessels on each side of the organ, which you can view in the cross-section. The front wall of the rectum – the container for the temporary storage of food waste – lies just a few millimetres away from the prostate.

The prostate can be distinguished into the lobes, the apex, the base, the anterior, and the posterior parts.

The Lobes: There are two lobes, the left lobe and the right lobe.

The Apex: The apex is the tip of the prostate that is located farthest from the bladder.

The Base: It is the wider portion of the gland lying next to the bladder.

Anterior and Posterior: Anterior is that part of the organ which lies to the front, while posterior is the part lying to the rear.

Prostate Function:

Sheldon Marks (2011) in the book “Prostate and Cancer”sheds some light on the structure, function and facts about the gland. According to the author, the main job of the prostate is to add fluid and vital nutrients to the sperm.

The histochemical findings show that the prostate in the adults secretes neutral or acid mucopolysaccharides but in the elderly men it nearly exclusively secretes acid mucopolysaccharides.

Prostate Facts:

Here are some interesting prostate facts, which bring to light the latest research into the functioning and malfunctioning of the organ.

  • When a male does no longer want to father a child, prostate gland stops serving its main purpose.
  • The gland continues to grow and enlarge under the influence of the normal male reproductive hormones until at some point it starts causing problems.
  • Did you know a prostate cancer would remain stable for up to 35 years without growing or metastasizing, i.e. spreading to other organs of the body?
  • The prostate is actually a collection of small tubuloalveolar glands which range in number from 30 to70. These glands have been encased to make the prostate one organ.
  • “An enlarged prostate does not increase your risk for developing prostate cancer,” claims Sheldon Marks in the book “Prostate and Cancer”.
  • Prostate cancer can be described as glandular malignant neoplasia or adenocarcinoma, which mostly occurs in the excretory or luminal cells.
  • Though cancer is said to originate in the stem or basal cells, each of the transit or intermediate cells lying between the stem and the final excretory cells may evolve to become malignant.
  • As a cause of cancer death in human males, prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer.
  • Did you know? About 80% of men aged 80 or above have cancer of the prostate gland at autopsy!
  • Aging, race, family history, obesity, hormones, western-style diet, and genetic polymorphismare some of the risk factors for prostate cancer.
  • It is one of the interesting prostate facts that low exposure to sunlight may also influence the development of cancer in the organ.
  • There is biological variability in prostate cancer, which means different types of cells may evolve into malignant cells.
  • While age is the greatest risk factor for prostate cancer, the disease primarily affects men aged 50 or above. And there is remarked increase in the incidence as men reach 60 years of age.
  • The lifetime risk of dying from prostate cancer is about 3 percent.
  • How do western diets serve as a factor for prostate cancer? It is because they are low in plant material and high in animal fat, meat, and processed carbohydrates.

About the Author

Posted by: M. Isaac / Senior writer

A graduate in biological sciences and a PhD scholar (NCBA&E University, Lahore), M. Isaac combines his vast experience with a keen and critical eye to create practical and inherently engaging content on the human body. His background as a researcher and instructor at a secondary school enables him to best understand the needs of the beginner level learners and the amateur readers and educate them about how their body works, and how they can adopt a healthier lifestyle.

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