In the early stages of prostate cancer, you might not experience any symptoms. That is because symptoms are often caused when the tumor grows and presses against the urethra or other internal areas, such as your spinal cord.
Prostate cancer often grows slowly, so symptoms may slowly develop over many years. However, by the time you do begin to experience symptoms, your cancer might be advanced. Some of the common symptoms of advanced stage prostate cancer include:
- The need to urinate frequently, especially at night. You might feel an urgent need to urinate of once you have an urge to urinate, you might not be able to wait.
- Difficulty urinating, including a weak urine stream, straining to pass urine or having your urine stream stop and start.
- Feeling that your bladder is not empty, even after you have just urinated.
- Blood in your urine.
- Pain or burning when urinating.
- You might experience erectile dysfunction, which includes difficulty with getting an erection.
- You might have a general feeling of discomfort in your pelvic area.
There may be weakness or numbness in your legs if your tumor is pressing on your spinal cord. When this occurs, some people also experience a loss of bladder or bowel control.
If prostate cancer spreads, or metastasizes, to your bones, you might experience pain in your back, hips and pelvis.
The symptoms of advanced stage prostate cancer are similar to those of an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is not cancerous. If you are experiencing symptoms, your doctor might request testing to determine if cancer is present. As with most diseases and illnesses, each person can experience different symptoms and different levels of symptoms.
Currently, there is no general consensus as to whether men should be routinely screened for prostate cancer. Some doctors do recommend screenings, however, others do not. If you believe you have risk factors for prostate cancer, talk to your doctor; together you can determine if routine screening is right for you. As with all types of cancer, early detection and treatment provides the best outcome.
For more information:
“Prostate Cancer Prevention and Early Detection,” Revised 2015, January 6, Staff Writer, American Cancer Society
“Prostate Cancer Symptoms,” Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Cancer Research UK