Know your Prostate

What is the Prostate?


The prostate is a small gland, about the size and shape of a walnut, or the size of a ping pong ball. 


Where? Low in the pelvis, below the bladder just in front of the rectum, and surrounds part of the urethra through which urine is carried out of the bladder and through the penis.


Function? Part of a man’s reproductive system; helps produce semen (the milky fluid) that keep sperm alive, which is released during ejaculation. The prostate processes hormones, like testosterone, every day as part of its normal function. 


What is PSA (or Prostate-Specific Antigen)? PSA is a glycoprotein that liquefies semen and is produced by the prostate. PSA is mostly contained in the prostate, but very small amounts can normally be found in the blood. 2-4

What happens when you develop

Prostate Cancer?

Prostate Cancer
Know your Prostate

Who should be screened?

Any age

  • If you experience (or have experienced) any urinary symptoms. 17  

At age 40+

  • Black men (African descent)
  • Those with a family history of prostate and/or breast cancer in a first degree relative. 17

At age 45+

  • All other men. 17

What puts you at risk of getting Prostate Cancer?




Prostate cancer is strongly associated with old age, and most men that develop prostate cancer do so around 55 years of age. 1,6




Men of African descent (Black males) are more at risk of developing Prostate Cancer than other ethnicities and are more at risk of the disease progressing faster. 5

Family history

Family history


Those with a family history of Prostate Cancer are more likely to also develop Prostate Cancer and tend to do so 6-7 years before someone without a family history. 5

Your own genes

Your own genes


Those with known genetic mutations (changes in some parts of your cell) may be at risk of more aggressive Prostate Cancer. 5

Chronic conditions

Chronic conditions


Those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and other signs of metabolic syndrome, such as a large waist circumference, are at a higher risk of developing Prostate Cancer. 5




Being very overweight may not be the cause of Prostate Cancer, but it has been shown to increase your risk of developing more severe Prostate Cancer and death. 5

Reasons why you should get screened for Prostate Cancer.


1 in 4 males diagnosed with cancer in South Africa, has cancer of the prostate. 6


Prostate Cancer, in its early stages, can be silent. As it may not cause symptoms, you may not be aware that you have it. Early detection of Prostate Cancer remains the critical factor that improves the quality of life and survival of those diagnosed. 6 If you do experience symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice as soon as possible from a doctor to identify possible conditions, which may or may not be cancer. 3


When Prostate Cancer is detected early through screening, and not only when you experience symptoms, there is a better chance that the cancer is still in its early stages. When Prostate Cancer is detected in the early stages: 3,4,7  

  • you have more treatment options 
  • these options might have less treatment side effects
  • you may have a better chance of stopping Prostate Cancer from progressing. 

How often should you be screened?

Not everybody needs to be regularly screened for Prostate Cancer. 5 If your PSA level was low on your first test, you only need to be screened again in 2 years' time. 17 If your PSA levels was higher than normal, you may need to be screened every year. 17


Talk to your healthcare provider today about getting screened for Prostate Cancer.

Stand up – Get tested.


If not Prostate Cancer, what could be wrong with my prostate?

You may have been experiencing symptoms, which are worrying. These symptoms may include: 3

(It is always best to seek a medical opinion when such symptoms develop.)

  • A weak urine stream.
  • Having to go to the toilet suddenly and immediately to pee (called urgency).


  • Having trouble starting to pee (called hesitancy).
  • Leaking urine without being able to control it (called incontinence).

  • Feeling like you have not emptied your bladder completely after you peed.
  • Having to go to the toilet often to pee (called frequency).

If you experience symptoms, but the results of the blood or physical exam are not clear about your condition, keep in mind that other conditions may also cause symptoms or positive results on screening tests. These may include: 3,5,7


  • Urinary tract infection
  • Cycling or recent ejaculation
  • Certain medication
  • Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH) – a condition where the prostate is enlarged and puts pressure on the urinary tract and bladder
  • Prostatitis – Inflammation of the prostate