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University of South Florida

What is a Prostate and What is it Good For?

The prostate gland is an often misunderstood part of the male body. This gland plays an important role in the male reproductive system, is responsible for producing and secreting male hormones, and creates fluid that carries sperm.

“The prostate is more well known for causing urination problems in men,” said Dr. Patel at USF Health Urology.

The prostate lives below the bladder, in front of the rectum. The urethra (tube that carries urine from the bladder) is partially surrounded by the prostate.

Common Concerns

As men age, the prostate can become enlarged and cause problems with urination. Some of the symptoms associated with prostate problems can include:

• Urinating frequently during the day and through the night
• Flow of urine is slow to start
• A sudden and strong urgent need to urinate
• Experiencing incontinence after urination for some time
• Having a feeling or sensation you have to go again just after urinating

Patients who experience these symptoms generally do not need treatment, but if symptoms become difficult to manage see your doctor, because treatments are available. There are a variety of procedures available, including minimally invasive robotics that can offer quick recovery time. For more information visit USF Health Urology Robotic Procedures.


According to Dr. Patel, men tend to confuse urinary problems with cancer symptoms.

“This cancer is very treatable and curable when diagnosed early,” Dr. Patel said.

“Most patients with prostate cancer don’t have any symptom that is why it is so important for them to get screened. Men think that frequency, urgency and getting up at night to urinate may be a sign of prostate cancer. Actually, that is a sign of an enlarged prostate,” Dr. Patel said

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer for men.

One prevailing myth about prostate cancer is that it is an old man’s disease – not true. When to begin screening depends on your family history, the average at risk age range for men to develop prostate cancer is 50 to 69.

Dr. Patel offers the following guidelines to begin screening:

–  Age 40: Men with a family history of fathers, brothers or sons with prostate cancer are at highest risk.
–  Age 45: African American men with a father, brother or son who has been diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65 are also at higher risk.

Written by Ercilia Colón

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