• By Jason Howland

Mayo Clinic Minute: Prostate health is important for men

November 25, 2019

Nearly 1 in 7 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. But Dr. Matthew Tollefson, a Mayo Clinic urologic oncologist, explains why cancer isn't the only problem men have to worry about when it comes to their prostates.

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"The prostate gland is a gland that sits around the urethra in men, just below the bladder," Dr. Tollefson says. "That ... gland then is responsible for producing semen."

He says even when men don't have prostate cancer, the prostate still grows over time.

"Men basically urinate through the middle of the prostate – kind of like through the hole in a donut," Dr. Tollefson says. "As that donut gets larger, that starts to pinch off the urinary stream."

The result is a tough time emptying the bladder and a need to go more frequently. Infections of the prostate are also common and can have similar symptoms.

And even though those symptoms can be embarrassing for some patients, Dr. Tollefson says it's important to see a health care provider.

"There's no reason to really suffer and go through side effects of progression and that type of thing when, really, these things are generally very well-treated and ... with very little side effect," Dr. Tollefson says.