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Transcript: "What is Prostate Cancer?"

Narrator: In the United States, one in ten men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. Age is the most important risk factor in prostate cancer -- the longer a man lives the more likely he is to develop the disease.

Physician: Come on back, first room.

Narrator: Most men confront the reality of prostate cancer on a visit to their urologist.

John Bertini, M.D.: It's a wide variety of reasons why they might show up at a urologist’s office. Some do come as a preventative thing -- they've turned 40, they've turned 50, they want their prostate examined. Some come because they have a symptom. Some come because they're so advanced in their symptomotology their family has to bring them. And most men don't even know they have a prostate. Most men don't pronounce it correctly and wouldn't know where it's located in their body -- have a vague sense of where it might be. So you first have to assume that you know what your prostate is and what it does. It's the male reproductive gland that's at the base of the bladder. Right through the middle of it passes the urine tube. Its only role in life is to produce the ejaculate that's a vehicle for sperm during intercourse.

Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D.: There's no such thing as one type of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is really a spectrum of diseases where on one end of the spectrum there is a disease that's very benevolent in its behavior. Men will develop prostate cancer and live the rest of their lives -- 20, 30 years -- and perhaps not even ever know they have it unless it was accidentally discovered. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those patients who develop a very virulent form of prostate cancer that very quickly can metastasize -- or spread -- and become lethal and take their lives.

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