Female Prostate Cancer: The Surprising Truth?

Female Prostate Cancer

Do women have a prostate gland?

No, women don’t have a prostate gland. However, in the realm of female anatomy, the intriguing question often arises: do women possess a prostate gland? While the term “female prostate” is frequently tossed around, it’s important to clarify that women don’t actually harbor a prostate gland akin to their male counterparts. 

Skene’s Gland

Instead, the reference typically alludes to petite glands situated on the anterior side of the vagina, accompanied by ducts often dubbed as “Skene’s glands” or “Skene’s ducts.” The nomenclature pays homage to Alexander Skene, who meticulously delineated these structures in the late 1800s. As researchers delve into the intricacies of these glands, they unearth resemblances to the male prostate, propelling the adoption of the colloquial term “female prostate.”

The Similarity With Men’s Prostate Gland

A noteworthy similarity surfaces in the form of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and PSA phosphatase (PSAP), compounds found both in the male prostate and Skene’s glands. The precise drainage route of these female “prostate” glands remains a subject of inquiry—whether exclusively into minuscule ducts flanking the urethra or directly into the urethra itself. 


The urethra, the conduit for expelling urine from the body, assumes a pivotal role in this anatomical interplay. Regardless of the drainage pathway, the female prostate gland is acknowledged as a functional component of a woman’s genital and urinary system.

Now, the million-dollar question arises: if the female prostate shares commonalities with its male counterpart, does this imply that women are susceptible to developing prostate cancer?

Do Women Have A Prostate Cancer?

Yes, women can have a prostate cancer. However, instances of cancer in the female prostate are a rarity, with one older study estimating that cancers originating from the Skene’s glands make up a mere 0.003 percent of cancers within the female genital-urinary tract. It’s worth noting that cancers originating in nearby organs, such as the urethra, may potentially find their roots in the Skene’s glands.

Case Study

A compelling case tells the story of a woman who, prompted by painless but persistent blood in her urine, sought medical attention. The cancer discovered in her prostate gland underwent treatment through radiation, successfully alleviating her symptoms. Surgery, depending on the cancer type and its extent, also emerges as a viable option for addressing Skene’s glands cancer.

The Challenge

The rarity of cancer in the female prostate poses a challenge for researchers, leading them to explore animal studies as a proxy for human cases. By examining animals with structures akin to those of human females, researchers gain insights into the workings of the female prostate and potential responses to cancer treatments.

Key Hormones

Key hormones in a woman’s menstrual cycle, namely estradiol and progesterone, also play pivotal roles in the prostates of female gerbils. This correlation hints at a parallel relationship within the reproductive system of women. Moreover, studies in gerbils suggest that age might be a risk factor for cancer in the Skene’s glands, with cancerous and noncancerous lesions more likely to manifest in older gerbils compared to their younger counterparts.

Risk Factor

Notably, progesterone emerges as a potential risk factor for lesions in the Skene’s glands, with a history of pregnancy, influencing progesterone levels, contributing to an increased occurrence of lesions. The intricate dance of hormones, as observed in gerbil studies, indicates that progesterone plays a role in the development of these lesions.

What Are The Prostate Symptoms In Females?

Given the rarity of this particular cancer, the dearth of case studies makes identifying its symptoms a challenging endeavor.

Should you encounter unexplained bleeding from your urethra, it’s imperative to consult with a healthcare professional. While this could be indicative of cancer in the Skene’s glands, it’s more likely associated with another issue in your urethra. The bleeding might occur intermittently and without accompanying pain, adding to the complexity of the diagnosis.

Seeking medical attention becomes paramount if you notice any abnormal symptoms, particularly if they persist. Early detection significantly enhances the prognosis for various conditions. Consult your healthcare provider if you experience symptoms such as:

  • Painful or frequent urination, or difficulty in passing urine.
  • Presence of blood in your urine or passing blood from your urethra.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • A sensation of pressure behind the pubic bones.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles or abrupt changes in your menstrual pattern.

It’s crucial to note that conditions other than cancer may be linked to the Skene’s glands, potentially manifesting noticeable symptoms. Regular medical check-ups play a pivotal role in maintaining overall health and catching potential concerns in their early stages.


Prostatitis, a condition characterized by swelling of the prostate gland in men, has its counterpart in women—female prostatitis, previously misdiagnosed as a urethral infection. However, there’s a growing understanding among medical professionals that this condition may actually stem from an infection in the Skene’s glands, distinct from the urethra. Recognizing the unique nature of the female prostate as a potential site of infection is crucial for accurate and effective treatment.

Signs of infection in the Skene’s glands may manifest in various ways, including:

  • A sensation of pressure behind the pubic bones.
  • Frequent, painful, or challenging urination.

It’s noteworthy that untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) pose a risk of spreading to the female prostate. Some STIs, such as gonorrhea, can be insidious, often presenting with no noticeable symptoms and increasing the likelihood of spreading to other regions of the female genitalia.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

In women grappling with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), there’s a delicate dance of reproductive hormones, swaying out of their natural rhythm. To add to the complexity, there’s often an excess of male hormones, a factor intricately tied to the size of the female prostate, which appears notably enlarged in those with PCOS.

In the intricate web of PCOS, researchers have unveiled another fascinating clue—elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in women dealing with this syndrome. PSA, a hormone crafted by the Skene’s glands, becomes a potential diagnostic marker for PCOS, offering a valuable avenue for understanding and identifying this complex condition.


These tiny bumps, known as cysts, can crop up on the Skene’s glands in women of all ages, even making an appearance in newborns. The good news is, that uncomplicated cysts are a breeze to manage—they can be gently drained, and most often, they’ll gracefully heal without the need for any further treatment.


Now, let’s talk about adenofibromas—a reassuring term for a noncancerous growth. Typically taking root in fibrous and glandular tissue, these growths, while benign, can stir up some trouble. Take, for instance, a noteworthy case report featuring an adenofibroma nestled in the female prostate. The telltale sign? Pain during intimate moments. But fear not, as a surgical intervention to bid farewell to the troublesome tumor proved to be a game-changer, bringing relief from the discomfort.

Unlocking the Mysteries of the Female Prostate

Ever wondered about the purpose of the female prostate? Recent years have witnessed the transformative power of MRI, shedding light on both the appearance and function of this enigmatic gland. While the journey to unravel its secrets is still underway, researchers are steadily gaining ground, delving into the intricacies of the female prostate.

In the world of men’s health, the prostate gland is suspected of being a potential hub for storing infections. This notion prompts researchers to question whether the Skene’s glands, akin to their male counterparts, harbor a similar function. Unraveling the mechanics of infection in people becomes pivotal, especially in understanding its dynamics in individuals living with conditions like HIV.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) In Females

Adding to the intrigue is the discovery that the female prostate produces prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a key marker for prostate cancer in men. Remarkably, it also surfaces in women with specific types of breast cancer. The role of PSA, however, proves to be a complex puzzle that extends beyond our current understanding.

A compelling observation emerges in cases of cancer treatment involving the Skene’s glands—elevated PSA levels before treatment, followed by a decline post-radiation or surgery. This distinctive pattern in PSA levels becomes a hallmark in cancer treatment, prompting doctors to incorporate regular PSA level checks throughout the course of treatment.


Much like its male counterpart, the Skene’s glands, affectionately known as the female prostate, play a fascinating role by producing the hormone PSA. Beyond this shared trait, these glands are thought to wield influence over the intricate dance of the reproductive system, a symphony conducted in all genders.

Delving into the depths of scientific inquiry, some researchers propose a connection between the female prostate and sexual arousal, although this theory is not without controversy. As the puzzle pieces of understanding fall into place, the potential role of the female prostate in sexual arousal remains an area of exploration and discussion.

Book Recommendation

The Prostate Health Program: A Guide to Preventing and Controlling Prostate Cancer

The Prostate Health Program: A Guide to Preventing and Controlling Prostate Cancer” by Daniel W. Nixon, MD and Max Gomez, Ph. D:

A comprehensive guide on maintaining prostate health.

Healthy Aging A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being

Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being” by Andrew Weil, MD:

Covers overall health, including prostate health, and the role of lifestyle.

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