Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men – over 250,000 men will be diagnosed this year alone. Fortunately, with early detection and treatment, most will recover completely.
When you know the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, you’ll know when to see a urologist for evaluation. And because prostate cancer often comes with no symptoms at all, screening is recommended for men starting at age 50 (sooner if they have risk factors).
Who is at Risk?
Age is the biggest risk factor in developing prostate cancer.
It occurs most often in men older than 50 who:
- Are Black or Hispanic
- Have close relatives that had the disease
- Have relatives with other cancers such as breast or ovarian cancer
Although prostate cancer is very common, most men do not die from it. This is because this type of cancer typically grows very slowly. There are some prostate cancers, however, which grow rapidly and spread outside the prostate.
Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer can often go undetected because there are often no symptoms early on. However, there can be symptoms, especially if prostate cancer is more advanced.
Here are some signs and symptoms to look out for:
- Difficulty starting when trying to urinate
- Weak or interrupted urine flow
- Increased frequency of urination
- Getting up through the night to urinate
- Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
- Straining to empty the bladder
- Painful urination
- Painful ejaculation
- New onset of erectile dysfunction
- Discomfort or pain when sitting because of an enlarged prostate
It is important to note that these symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer. As a man ages, the prostate tends to increase in size, causing the urethra to narrow and decrease urine flow. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, and it is not the same as prostate cancer. Urinary tract infections may also cause similar symptoms.
In some men, symptoms of prostate cancer develop only after it spreads outside the prostate gland or metastasizes. Prostate cancer is most commonly spread in bones and lymph nodes.
If cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, symptoms and signs may include:
- Pain in the back, hips, and thighs
- Shoulder pain
- Bone pain
- Change in bowel habits
- A buildup of fluid, or swelling, in the legs and feet
- Unexplained weight loss
What Should I Do If I Am Having Symptoms?
If you have any of these signs or symptoms or are concerned about changes you are experiencing, schedule an appointment with a urologist.
Don’t delay – schedule an appointment with a urologist today!