Epidemiology of Prostate Disease

pp 3-12

Anatomy and Pathophysiology of the Prostate Gland

  • R. S. Kirby

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The origin of the term “prostate” was originally derived from the Greek prohistani (to stand in front of) and has been attributed to Herophilus of Alexandria, who used the expression in 335 B.C. to describe the organ located “in front of” the urinary bladder. However, while the existence of the prostate has been recognised for over 2300 years, the gland’s anatomy, physiology and pathology has been described in detail only within the past six decades. Recently there has been a flurry of interest and activity in relation to the three major prostatic diseases: benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), carcinoma of the prostate and prostatitis. This is partly because demographic changes have led to an ever-increasing proportion of men attaining an age at which they are especially susceptible to these disorders, and because of the introduction of new therapies for these diseases. Central to the understanding of both benign and malignant prostatic pathology is comprehension of the zonal anatomy. This chapter relates differences in zonal anatomy to the various pathological processes which frequently affect this gland.