Prostate cancer is one of the leading cancers in men. The
most recent statistics from 2011 show that 209,292 U.S. men were
diagnosed with the cancer that year. Knowing and detecting the possible
symptoms of prostate cancer is one way to take action. The cancer shares many
similar symptoms with benign prostatic diseases. Learn more about prostate
cancer symptoms, as well as when it’s time to take action.
The earliest prostate cancer symptoms are often urinary. Warning
signs can include:
with starting urine flow
flow, or ‘dribbling’
in the urine
Many of these
symptoms can be indicative of noncancerous diseases of the prostate. These
include benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), also known as an enlarged prostate,
as well as prostatitis (inflamed prostate gland, usually due to infection).
is that BPH and prostatitis usually don’t cause bloody urine. If you see blood
in your urine, call your doctor for an evaluation right away.
The prostate gland plays a key role in the male reproductive
system, so it’s not surprising that prostate cancer can cause sexual
dysfunction. Men may have problems getting or maintaining an erection, or experience
painful ejaculation. Some men with early prostate cancer experience no
Because of changes in hormone levels, sexual dysfunction
becomes more common with age. Still, you shouldn’t brush off erectile
dysfunction — or other symptoms — as a result of aging. Tests can help
determine whether your symptoms are cancerous or not.
Once prostate cancer spreads, it can cause pain in and
around the area of the prostate gland. Men with the disease can experience pain
in the hips, lower back, pelvis, or upper thighs.
Pain is also likely to occur in multiple areas. For example,
you might experience painful urination in conjunction with pelvic pain. Any
ongoing (chronic) pain should be assessed by a doctor to rule out serious health
When to See a Doctor
It’s a good idea to call your doctor if you experience
symptoms of prostate cancer, even if they’re mild. As a rule of thumb, the NCI
recommends that men who are in their 30s or 40s see a doctor immediately if
they experience any prostate cancer symptoms. While these symptoms don’t
necessarily indicate prostate cancer, noncancerous prostate problems usually
occur in men after the age of 50.
Symptoms like bloody discharge or extreme pain may warrant
an immediate cancer screening.
Getting regular cancer screenings is also important,
particularly if there’s a history of the disease in your family. According to
men with brothers or fathers with prostate cancer are up to three times more
likely to develop the disease. Your risk may also be greater if breast cancer
runs in your family. Sharing this information with your doctor can help you get
timely testing done should any suspicious symptoms arise.
The majority of prostate cancer cases continue to be
diagnosed during routine checkups. This can lead to a late diagnosis, in which
the cancer has already progressed to a more advanced stage. Like many forms of
cancer, the earlier prostate cancer is detected, the better the outlook.
It’s possible to
have prostate cancer, BPH, and prostatitis at the same time. Still, this doesn’t mean having a noncancerous prostate disease
will become cancerous.
The best way to protect yourself is to pay attention to your
symptoms earlier rather than later. Being proactive can lead to earlier
treatment and a better outlook.