Prostate Cancer: Signs, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Typically, prostate cancer presents no symptoms in its early stages. However, with later stages of prostate cancer, men may experience the following prostate cancer warning signs:

  • Urinary symptoms can be a warning sign of developing prostate cancer. These urinary symptoms are often the same as the ones men experience with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), except with prostate cancer the symptoms appear more abruptly.
    • Weak or interrupted urine flow
    • Pain or burning with urination
    • Difficulty urinating or stopping
    • Blood in urine
    • Frequent urination (especially at night)
  • If the cancer has invaded the nerves beside the prostate, the man may experience erectile dysfunction (ED) or a decrease in the firmness of erections.
  • Sometimes the first symptoms are severe back, hip or chest pain, which can mean prostate cancer has spread to bones.
  • Numbness or weakness in legs or feet, or loss of bladder control (from tumor pressing on the spine).

The good news is that fewer men are initially diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer because of widespread PSA screening (prostate-specific antigen).

What is BPH?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate gland that can occur in older men as the prostate grows bigger. BPH is not cancer, but may cause many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer. It is very common and may be treated with medication or surgery. Always see your doctor for evaluation.

I have some prostate cancer symptoms. Now what?

Visit your urologist to have a physical exam and a PSA screening blood test to rule out other causes of your symptoms. If the results of the PSA screening or physical exam indicate prostate cancer, your doctor will do a biopsy to confirm presence of cancer.