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Signs & Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

What are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Though early warning signs of prostate cancer are rare, sometimes men experience symptoms before they are diagnosed. The severity of symptoms may depend on where the cancer is located in the prostate and how advanced it has become. However, having any of these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer or that the disease has progressed beyond its early stages.

What Are The Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer

Some of the greatest risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Age. Prostate cancer is very rare in men younger than 40 years of age. In contrast, approximately 60% of prostate cancer cases occur in men that are older than 65.
  • Race. African-American men tend to be at greater risk for prostate cancer compared to non-Hispanic whites, whereas Asian-Americans and Hispanic/Latino men are less susceptible to this disease.
  • Location. Prostate cancer is most common in North America, Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean. It is rarer in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. This may be because of more intensive screening procedures for the disease in certain countries, although lifestyle factors such as diet could also play a key role in the difference.
  • Family history. In many cases, there is a strong hereditary factor associated with the emergence of prostate cancer. In fact, men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer have a much higher risk of developing it themselves.

Other possible risk factors could include a dairy-rich diet, obesity, smoking, and exposure to harmful chemicals.

Should I Get Prostate Cancer Screening

You may have wondered why there is no nationwide prostate cancer screening program in Australia . Thats because experts do not recommend routine prostate cancer screening if youre aged between 50 and 69, healthy, and dont have a family history of prostate cancer.

There are several reasons for this:

  • A high PSA level can be a result of something other than cancer.
  • Experts dont fully agree on what is a normal or abnormal PSA level.
  • Most men with a slightly raised PSA level have a biopsy that confirms no cancer.
  • Many prostate cancers are low risk, slow growing, and are unlikely to cause harm if left untreated.
  • Testing and treating low risk, slow growing cancers may cause more harm than good.

You should speak to your doctor if you have a family history or ongoing symptoms of prostate cancer, such as difficulty passing urine. Your doctor can help you make an informed decision about whether prostate cancer screening is suitable for you.

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Advanced Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Men with advanced prostate cancer may experience additional symptoms. Thats because the cancer has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, such as the bones or lymph nodes.

Signs of metastatic prostate cancer may include:

  • Swelling in legs or pelvic area
  • Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet
  • Bone pain that persists or leads to fractures

A wide range of treatment options are available for managing advanced cancer. These treatments kill cancer cells, but they may also help patients manage pain.

Prostate cancer treatment: The care you need is one call away

Your multidisciplinary team will work with you to develop a personalized plan to treat your prostate cancer in a way that fits your individual needs and goals.

Expert Review And References

Prostate Cancer: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications
  • American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer Early Detection, Diagnosis, and Staging. 2019: .
  • Garnick MB . Harvard Medical School 2015 Annual Report on Prostate Diseases. 2015.
  • Hermanns T, Kuk C, Zlotta AR. Clinical presentation, diagnosis and staging. Nargund VH, Raghavan D, Sandler HM . Urological Oncology. Springer 2015: 40: 697-718.
  • Logothetis CJ, Kim J, Davis J, Kuban D, Mathew P, Aparicio A. Neoplasms of the prostate. Hong WK, Bast RC Jr, Hait WN, et al . Holland Frei Cancer Medicine. 8th ed. People’s Medical Publishing House 2010: 94: 1228-1254.
  • PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. Prostate Cancer Treatment Patient Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute 2020: .
  • PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. Prostate Cancer Treatment Health Professional Version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute 2020: .

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What Are 5 Common Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer

In many cases, prostate cancer does not produce clear symptoms in its initial stages of development. In fact, many men may have prostate cancer without even realizing it. However, there are some common warning signs that could indicate a person has prostate cancer. Five of the most common ones include:

  • Pain and/or a “burning sensation” when urinating or ejaculating
  • Frequent urination, especially during the nighttime
  • Trouble starting urination, or stopping urination once in progress
  • Sudden erectile dysfunction
  • Of course, these five symptoms are not the only potential warning signs of prostate cancer. Other possible indicators could include weak urine flow, and unexplained pain deep in the groin area when sitting down. If cancer has spread beyond the prostate, a man may also suffer lower body swelling, abnormal urinary or bowel habits, or inexplicable weight loss.

    It’s important to note that most of these symptoms are not unique to prostate cancer, and may indicate a different condition that is not life-threatening.

    Are There Complications Of Prostate Cancer And Treatment

    Treatments can cause side effects, including:

    • Erectile dysfunction: More than 3 in every 4 men have problems with getting and keeping an erection after surgery. However, this can be minimised using nerve-sparing surgery techniques. Erectile dysfunction is also common after radiation therapy and ADT. There are effective treatments for erection problems.
    • Poor bladder control : 5% to 10% of men have problems with urine leakage within one year after prostate removal.
    • Urinary urgency: Radiation therapy can cause damage around the prostate, making you feel like going to the toilet more often.

    Men who take ADT may also experience a reduced sex drive and hormone-related effects such as hot flushes, tiredness and sweating, loss of body hair and osteoporosis. ADT can also result in reduced muscle strength, an increased risk of getting heart disease and memory loss.

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    Lower Your Risk For Prostate Cancer

    Prostate cancer is a serious disease, but early detection is key. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and when or if you should be screened for prostate cancer sometimes as early as age 40, if youre considered high risk.

    Theres no way to eliminate the risk of getting prostate cancer, Dr. Weight says, but if youre at a higher risk for developing the disease, there are steps you can take to lower your risk.

    • Get regular prostate screenings.

    Some Of The Most Common Warning Signs That Can Tell You Are Having Prostate Cancer Are:

    What are the Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer? | Cancer Research UK

    Need for frequent urination, mostly during the nights

    Having difficulty starting or to stop with urination

    Occurrence of sudden erectile dysfunction

    Having pain in the bone

    Losing weight without trying

    Weak urine flow

    Unexplained pain around the prostate while sitting

    We need to note that in case you have been experiencing some of the mentioned things, you should not panic because there are so many others conditions that are not serious at all with the same symptoms. Therefore, if you have some of the symptoms that do not necessarily mean that you are having prostate cancer. On the other hand, even though it is unbelievable to hear it, some men can even have prostate cancer diagnosed without experiencing any of the mentioned symptoms.

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    Screening For Prostate Cancer

    There are no tests available with sufficient accuracy to screen populations of men for early signs of prostate cancer. However, early detection and treatment can significantly improve prostate cancer survival.

    The test most commonly used to aid early detection of prostate cancer is the prostate specific antigen blood test. This is not a diagnostic test as it can only indicate changes in the prostate. If you are concerned about prostate cancer you should talk to your doctor and make an informed choice about whether to have one of the tests designed to find early signs of prostate cancer, in view of the potential risks and benefits.

    There are no proven measures to prevent prostate cancer.

    How Do You Get Prostate Cancer

    The exact cause of prostate cancer isnt known. But factors that may increase your risk include:

    Age As men age, their chances of developing prostate cancer increase. About 1 out of 6 men will be diagnosed with it during their lifetime.

    Family history Men who have a close relative who has had prostate cancer are more likely to develop it than those who dont have a family history of it.

    Race African American men are more likely to develop prostate cancer than white or Asian-American men.

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    Prognosis For Prostate Cancer

    It is not possible for a doctor to predict the exact course of a disease, as it will depend on each person’s individual circumstances. However, your doctor may give you a prognosis, the likely outcome of the disease, based on the type of prostate cancer you have, the test results, the rate of tumour growth, as well as your age, fitness and medical history.

    Prostate cancer often grows slowly and even more aggressive types tend to grow more slowly than other types of cancer. If diagnosed early, prostate cancer has one of the highest five year survival rates.

    So What Are The Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer

    What are the most common earliest symptoms of prostate cancer?

    Unfortunately, there usually arent any early warning signs for prostate cancer. The growing tumor does not push against anything to cause pain, so for many years the disease may be silent. Thats why screening for prostate cancer is such an important topic for all men and their families.

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    In rare cases, prostate cancer can cause symptoms. Contact your doctor for an evaluation if you experience any of the following:

    • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night, some- times urgently
    • Difficulty starting or holding back urination
    • Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
    • Painful or burning urination
    • Difficulty in having an erection
    • A decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated
    • Pressure or pain in the rectum
    • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs

    Remember: urinary symptoms dont necessarily mean you have cancer. Prostatitis or BPH are benign diseases but can cause similar symptoms and are very common.

    What about difficulty in having an erection? Again, this is most likely not caused by cancer but by other factors such as diabetes, smoking, cardiovascular disease, or just plain getting older.

    That said: Symptoms are symptoms, and no matter whats most likely to be causing them, you should get them checked out by a doctor.

    Download or order your free copy of the Prostate Cancer Patient Guide now with COVID-19 Appendix.

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    Gleason Score For Grading Prostate Cancer

    Prostate cancer is also given a grade called a Gleason score. This score is based on how much the cancer looks like healthy tissue when viewed under a microscope. Less aggressive tumors generally look more like healthy tissue. Tumors that are more aggressive are likely to grow and spread to other parts of the body. They look less like healthy tissue.

    The Gleason scoring system is the most common prostate cancer grading system used. The pathologist looks at how the cancer cells are arranged in the prostate and assigns a score on a scale of 3 to 5 from 2 different locations. Cancer cells that look similar to healthy cells receive a low score. Cancer cells that look less like healthy cells or look more aggressive receive a higher score. To assign the numbers, the pathologist determines the main pattern of cell growth, which is the area where the cancer is most obvious, and then looks for another area of growth. The doctor then gives each area a score from 3 to 5. The scores are added together to come up with an overall score between 6 and 10.

    Gleason scores of 5 or lower are not used. The lowest Gleason score is 6, which is a low-grade cancer. A Gleason score of 7 is a medium-grade cancer, and a score of 8, 9, or 10 is a high-grade cancer. A lower-grade cancer grows more slowly and is less likely to spread than a high-grade cancer.

    Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer Spread To The Lymph Nodes

    Lymph nodes are part of a system of tubes and glands in the body that filters body fluid and fights infection.

    There are lots of lymph nodes in the groin area, which is close to the prostate gland. Prostate cancer can spread to the lymph nodes in the groin area, or to other parts of the body. The most common symptoms are swelling and pain around the area where the cancer has spread.

    Cancer cells can stop lymph fluid from draining away. This might lead to swelling in the legs due to fluid build up in that area. The swelling is called lymphoedema.

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    What Should I Do If I Have Prostate Cancer Symptoms

    If you are displaying one or more signs of prostate cancer, be sure to promptly consult with a physician. Even benign prostate conditions like prostate enlargement warrant timely medical attention, so dont delay seeking treatment. And, like most other malignancies, prostate cancer is usually more easily treated when it is detected at an early stage.

    Medically reviewed by Monica Chatwal, MD.

    At Moffitt Cancer Center, we provide a full range of diagnostic testing for prostate cancer. If you have received a prostate cancer diagnosis, we understand that every day counts, and we want to support you every step of the way. Our Urologic Oncology Program includes a multispecialty team that focuses exclusively on evaluating and treating prostate cancer.

    Contact Moffitt at or complete a new patient registration form online to speak with one of our specialized oncologists about your symptoms. As Floridas top cancer hospital, were committed to providing all new patients rapid access to a cancer expert within a day of their reaching out.

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    The risk of being diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer is less than one in 10. Yet thats no reason to doubt the realities of such a prognosis.

    Just 7% of men have advanced-stage prostate cancer at the time of diagnosis. For these men, this highly treatable disease becomes a far more serious issue.

    Once the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, only about 30% of men survive for more than five years. That compares with a near-100% survival rate when the cancer is detected early. And almost all cases of prostate cancer are detected early , thanks to preventive screening.

    But unfortunately, some men are at a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer, even if they start getting screenings at the recommended age of 50.

    This is What Late-Stage Prostate Cancer Means

    The prostate is a small gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the gland begin to divide uncontrollably, forming an invasive tumor.

    Who Is at Greater Risk of Late-Stage Prostate Cancer?

    Look for These Symptoms

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    Recurrent Prostate Cancer Symptoms

    Prostate cancer that returns after treatment is considered recurrent. When it returns to the area around the prostate, the disease is classified as a local recurrence. If the cancer is found in another part of the body, the recurrent cancer is considered metastatic. If the cancer metastasizes outside the prostate, it most likely develops in bones first. Metastatic prostate cancer most often spreads to the liver, bones and lungs.

    After initial treatment for prostate cancer, PSA levels are expected to drop dramatically. The first sign of recurrent prostate cancer may be a rise in the PSA level. Other symptoms of recurrent cancer may depend on whether and where the cancer has spread. Symptoms include:

    • Blood in the urine
    • Difficulty breathing

    Patients should discuss any symptoms with their doctor and ask about scheduling regular PSA tests after treatment.

    What Increases Your Risk Of Prostate Cancer

    Factors that can elevate risk prostate cancer include:

    • A family history of prostate cancer
    • Inherited genetic mutations, such as BRCA1/BRCA2 genes and Lynch syndrome
    • Conditions such as prostatitis, inflammation of the prostate, and benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland
    • A diet high in red meats and high-fat dairy and low in fruits and vegetables
    • Age: approximately 60 percent of cases are diagnosed in men older than 65
    • Race and ethnicity: African-American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer

    Research has also shown that a healthy lifestyle, including a well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight, may reduce prostate cancer risk.

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    Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread

    The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. It can also spread to the:

    A large tumour in the prostate gland can spread into or press on areas around the prostate, such as the back passage or urethra. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

    When Should I See My Doctor

    Prostate cancer (overview, symptoms, causes, stages, diagnosis, treatment)

    See your doctor if you notice any unusual or ongoing changes in your toilet habits . Most often, these wont mean you have cancer, but finding cancer early improves the odds of treating it successfully.

    If you dont have any symptoms but are concerned about your risk, your doctor can also explain the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening, such as having a PSA test.

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