Donate to Prostate Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education

Prostate cancer develops in a man’s prostate, the walnut-sized gland located in front of the rectum and below the bladder. This muscular gland is essential, as it makes the thick fluid part of semen and plays a vital role in both sexual and urinary function. By donating to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you will be a part of continued, essential progress in understanding, diagnosing and treating prostate cancer at Northwestern Medicine.  

As men age, the cells of the prostate may change and form tumors or other growths. When cancer of the prostate develops, cancer cells can grow out of control and can spread beyond the prostate. As cancer spreads, it becomes harder to treat. Prostate cells can create four different types of growth:

  • Noncancerous growths: With age, the prostate can grow larger, which is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP). BHP is not cancerous and does not cause cancer, but it can lead to other symptoms like trouble urinating
  • Atypical cells: Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) do not look like normal cells. While not cancerous, they may be an indication that cancer is likely to form
  • Cancer: Abnormal prostate cells that grow out of control and invade other tissues are cancer cells. They may or may not cause symptoms. Similarly, some tumors can be felt during a physical exam, while others cannot
  • Metastatic cancer: Prostate cancer may grow into nearby lymph nodes or organs; metastasis occurs when cancer spreads to bones or organs in distant parts of the body

In its early stages, prostate cancer may not display any symptoms at all. This makes regular checkups, including a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen blood test, extremely important. Potential symptoms include trouble urinating, increased frequency of urination, blood in the urine, pain or burning during urination, erectile dysfunction and loss of bladder or bowel control and other symptoms. Because these symptoms may be caused by other conditions, it is crucial for a person with questions and concerns to contact a physician.

The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but various risk factors increase the chances of developing this disease. These risk factors include:

  • Age: Men over 50 have a greater risk of developing prostate cancer
  • Race: Prostate cancer tends to be more common in African-Americans and Caucasians compared to Asian-American and Hispanic men
  • Family history: Those with a family history have a greater risk
  • Poor Diet and Obesity: Men with poor diets, or who are obese, have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer
  • Chemicals: Men who are in contact with toxic chemicals in the workplace may have a higher risk

At Northwestern Medicine, treatments for prostate cancer are determined by our multidisciplinary team of physicians and may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and palliative medicine.

Prostate Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Northwestern Medicine continues to lead the way in prostate cancer treatment and research. Finding an apparent cause and a true cure is not possible without the support of donors like you. A gift to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will enable Northwestern Medicine’s scientists and physicians to advance their efforts to effectively diagnose, treat and, ideally, cure prostate cancer.