Doctors Health Press Prostate Information Center

The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate mutate and begin to multiply out of control. The peripheral zone of the prostate usually develops cancer first. These small clumps of cancer cells attach to an otherwise healthy prostate. When and if the cells begin to multiply, they can spread to the surrounding prostate tissue. Eventually a tumor may invade nearby organs, such as the seminal vesicles, bladder or rectum. Or tumor cells may travel into the lymphatic system and the bloodstream. Often those with prostate cancer have no symptoms. Others experience similar symptoms to those found with BPH, including trouble with sexual function.

When looking for a cure for prostate cancer, scientists have focused on “androgen receptors.” Androgens are hormones (such as testosterone) that are important for normal male sexual development before birth and during puberty. Androgen receptors allow the body to respond appropriately to these hormones. Typical prostate cancer treatments involve drugs that slow production of androgen. But, according to researchers, this type of treatment generally becomes less effective over time, as cancer cell resistance strengthens and multiplies.