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Prostate Function

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  • The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and pelvic floor in men.

  • Urine is stored in the bladder and exits the body through the penis in a tube called the urethra. The upper portion of the urethra passes through the middle of the prostate gland.

  • The bottom of the prostate gland is closely associated with the urinary sphincter, which is responsible for controlling urine flow. This helps explain why changes within the prostate can affect urine flow.

  • The prostate also produces the milky white (prostatic) fluid that helps carry and nourish sperm. It is in this prostatic fluid that prostate specific antigen (PSA) is found. Some PSA naturally leaks into the blood stream. An elevated PSA can be an indicator of prostate trouble.

  • Due to the location of the prostate, it can only be physically examed by a digital rectal exam. The examination allows the physician to estimate whether the prostate is enlarged or has lumps or areas of abnormal texture.


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Prostate Cancer Coalition of North Carolina (PCCNC)
5905 Shamrock Road
Research Triangle Park, NC 27713