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Can women have prostate cancer?

Women do not have a prostate like men, they have glands in the front of the vagina called Skene gland , which are sometimes referred to as the female prostate .

Some researchers have discovered that Skene’s glands share properties with the male prostate, located between the bladder and the penis. For example, both the glands and the prostate contain specific antigens and phosphates, enzymes that indicate the health of the prostate in men.

The discovery of the similarities of these glands has derived in the use of the term “female prostate”. However, although it is technically possible for a woman to have prostate cancer , it is extremely rare.

What is the function of the female prostate?

The studies with MRIs about female prostate are relatively new, so doctors are not sure of the features that make these glands. Even so, research indicates that they have an important role in the female urinary system and in the genitals .

Specific prostate antigens and carcinogenic indications

The studies focus on the analysis of how the female prostate produces specific prostate antigens (PSA), indicators of prostate cancer in men and that it can be a symptom of breast cancer in women .
According to some research, controlling PSA levels during cancer treatment in women can be very useful for monitoring the treatments of some types of breast cancer.

Symptoms of female prostate cancer

Female prostate cancer is extremely rare. According to a 1994 study, only 0.003% of all cancer cases were related to the female urinary tract or the genital area.

Due to the infrequency with which this type of cancer is diagnosed, it can be difficult for specialists to recognize it. Many of the symptoms such as pain, itching, loss of weight and appetite, and anemia due to bleeding, are symptoms of other common diseases.

For example, a doctor can diagnose blood in the urine as a symptom of a urinary tract infection, an infection of the kidney or kidney stones instead of female prostate cancer.

Other symptoms that may appear:

  • Pressure behind the pubic bone
  • Pain when urinating
  • Irregularities in the menstrual cycle
  • Pain in the sexual act
  • Difficulties urinating
  • Frequent urination

This symptomatology may be related to other non-cancerous conditions of the female prostate such as:


Cysts can form in the Skene glands and can develop at any age. When they do not result in greater complications they can be removed by a doctor.


There are many infections that can occur in the urinary tract. For a doctor, it is easy to confuse female prostatitis with an infection of the urethra. Some studies, however, indicate that it may be an infection of Skene’s glands. The report also adds that an infection in this area requires a totally different treatment than other parts of the genital area.


The adenofibroma occurs when some glandular or fibrous tissues of the body increase in size. One of the symptoms of adenofibroma in Skene’s glands is pain when having sex.

These protuberances are not carcinogenic and can be removed with surgery.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome occurs when the female hormones responsible for reproduction are not in balance. A patient with this syndrome may have a higher than normal number of male hormones.

Some studies shows that Skene’s glands are larger than average in someone with polycystic ovarian syndrome, in addition to having higher PSA levels.

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