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Prostate Conditions and Treatments

The prostate is an organ of the urinary tract. It sits below the bladder and surrounds the urethra. The prostate produces part of the fluid that is ejaculated as semen. Walnut-sized in younger men, it increases in size with age. If the prostate enlarges excessively, it puts pressure on the urethra, making it difficult to urinate. This condition is called Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH).

Cancer of the prostate is a common condition in older men. Both BPH and prostate cancer may be treated using surgical procedures.

Trans-urethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP)

In this procedure the central part of the prostate is surgically removed. Under anaesthetic, a slender tube called a cystoscope is guided through the urethra (penis) to the prostate. The cystoscope sends an image of the area to the surgeon, who uses a cutting instrument passed through the cystoscope to remove the part of the prostate blocking the urethra. The outer shell of the prostate remains.

Brachytherapy (Low Dose Rate Brachytherapy)

This treatment involves radiation of a prostate tumour by placing radioactive ‘seeds’ inside the body, close to the site of the cancer itself. The seeds are placed by needle through the perineum (the piece of skin between the scrotum and anus) and into the prostate.

Because the radiation source is placed very close to the cancer, the dose of radiation to adjacent tissue is lower, and is also tailored to suit each patient.