The prostate gland is a small gland about the size of a walnut. It lies below your bladder, just in front of your rectum (back passage).
A tube that carries urine runs through your prostate and into your penis. This tube is known as your urethra or water pipe. If the prostate gland is enlarged it can cause trouble passing urine because it presses on the urethra.
The prostate makes a thick white fluid that mixes with sperm (semen). It also makes a protein called prostate specific antigen (PSA), which turns semen into liquid.
If your PSA level is higher than normal, it can sometimes be a sign of prostate cancer. However it can also be a sign of a less serious condition like a prostate or urinary infection.
Prostate cancer is when the cells of your prostate gland grow in an abnormal way to form a lump (tumour). In some men prostate cancer grows slowly; in others it grows more quickly and spreads to other parts of your body. Prostate cancer is a common cancer in Ireland. Around 3,900 men are diagnosed with it each year.
A detailed guide on having your prostate and PSA checked can be found here.
We use the term ‘man / men’ in our prostate information, but we understand that not everyone who has a prostate gland identifies as a man.