If you are new to prostate cancer, you probably never gave much thought to your prostate before or what it does. There is no better time that prostate cancer awareness month to learn exactly what the prostate is and why it is important.
The prostate gland is a complex organ found within the male reproductive system that creates and secretes semen, which is one half of the reproduction equation. The prostate relies on male hormones, namely testosterone produced in the testicles, for normal growth and function. Testosterone also attributes to male sex characteristics, such as low vocal tones and facial and body hair. Located adjacent to the bladder and the urethra, the prostate can also affect the overall function and health of the urinary system.
Found below the bladder, midway between the rectum and the base of the penis, the prostate gland is approximately the size of a walnut (4 cm by 3 cm by 2 cm). A healthy prostate gland weighs twenty grams and contains fifteen to twenty branched glands which in turn form the four prostate lobes: anterior, posterior, lateral and median. Although the prostate is divided into lobes, doctors typically utilize three zones to identify the area in which they are referring.
The first zone, known as the peripheral zone, is where most prostate cancers begin and is best identified as the zone doctors can locate with a digital rectal exam. The second zone, known as the transition zone, makes up less than 5 percent of the total prostate volume. However, the transition zone is where patients suffering an enlarged prostate will see that total volume percentage increase because this is where the majority of enlarged prostates see the most growth. Lastly, the third zone, known as the central zone, is rarely discussed as it is not linked to most prostate health problems.
The Role of The Prostate
The prostate’s primary role in the reproductive system is to produce semen. Attached to the testicles, the prostate gland thrusts semen — a mixture of prostate fluids and seminal fluids — into the urethra and out through the penis. This reproductive mixture contains high volumes of zinc and potassium with a mixture of citric acid and fructose. Combined together to deliver sperm, these ingredients also serve to reduce the acidity of the vaginal canal and boost fertility.
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