Second to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men; approximately 300,000 men in the United States are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown. According to the American Cancer Society, an average American man has a one in nine chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. These statistics may leave you asking, “can women get prostate cancer?”. Keep reading to find out.
Do Women Have a Prostate?
While women don’t have a prostate gland, they do have what some would say is a part of their reproductive system that is comparable to the male prostate. Skene glands are made of two small ducts located on both sides of the urethra. These glands are considered to be the female equivalent of a prostate gland. The purpose of the skene gland is similar to the male’s prostate because it releases a fluid that lubricates the opening of the urethra.
Prostate Cancer in Women
The answer to “can women get prostate cancer” is a bit complex since women technically don’t have a prostate. However, cancer of the skene glands can, in a way, mimic prostate cancer in men since both cancers can be caused by raised levels in PSAs (prostate specific antigens). Cancer of the skene gland, the female prostate gland equivalent, is extremely rare. A study calculates that cancer found in Skene’s glands accounts for roughly 0.003 percent of cancers found in the female genital-urinary tract. So, while not exactly the same as prostate cancer found in males, females can still be at risk for “prostate” cancer. For any questions or clarifications, please contact a prostate cancer center or specialist.