Prostate Cancer

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

symptoms of prostate cancer

Medically reviewed by Dr. Paul Song M.D

The first thing you should know about the symptoms of prostate cancer is that in most cases, there are no discernible symptoms during the early stages of the disease. This is a major reason why men are encouraged to undergo prostate cancer screening (e.g., digital rectal exam, PSA) starting at a certain age, depending on their known risk factors.

Only a trained medical professional can help you determine whether you have prostate cancer or another prostate condition. Often prostate cancer starts in the outer part of the organ, away from the urethra. Therefore, if the tumor is not near the urethra and/or is not large enough to place pressure on the urethra, you may not notice any symptoms at all.


What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

That said, every man should be familiar with the symptoms of prostate problems, including prostate cancer, because early detection is the best defense against advancing and worsening disease. These three conditions—benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, and prostate cancer—all have similar symptoms, as well as a few different ones. The symptoms of prostate problems that are similar among the three prostate conditions include the following:

  • Having to wait for the urinary stream to begin
  • Urinary flow that starts and stops
  • Weak urinary stream
  • Dribbling urine
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Incomplete urination (inability to completely empty the bladder)
  • Frequent nighttime urination (nocturia)
  • Urgent need to urinate
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Urinary incontinence (leakage)
  • Inability to urinate (this is an emergency situation)

Which Symptoms are Associated with More Advanced Prostate Cancer?

If you have prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) beyond the prostate, it can cause other symptoms, depending on where the cancer has advanced. Cancer that has spread to the bones, for example (and which is common in prostate cancer) can cause aching bones and fractures while swelling in the legs is associated with cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes in the pelvis. Other symptoms associated with more advanced prostate cancer include:

  • Anemia
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the lower back, abdomen, upper thighs
  • Unexpected weight loss

It’s critical that you fully disclose to your healthcare provider all symptoms you have been experiencing, even if they are not on this list. The more complete the information your doctor has, the better he can make a diagnosis.