What are prostate cancer signs and symptoms?

A sign is something that someone else may notice, such as a lump or mass, which may be detected by a doctor during a rectal examination.

A symptom is a something the patient may feel or notice, for example, changes in the urinary stream or pain while urinating.  In the early stages of prostate cancer, there may not be any signs or symptoms.

Advanced prostate cancer may produce several different symptoms.

How does prostate cancer produce signs and symptoms?

Signs and symptoms in prostate cancer are usually not noticed until the cancer is advanced.  As the tumour in the prostate gland grows, it may interfere with bladder function causing symptoms related to urinary function.

prostate cancer symptoms

Other symptoms may occur once the cancer cells spread from the prostate gland to other organs forming new tumours.  It is not uncommon for the prostate cancer cells to spread to the lymph nodes of the pelvis and spine causing hip and back pain.

Staging describes the size and severity of the cancer and helps to inform the diagnostic and treatment approach. Early prostate cancer stages include Stage 0 (pre-invasive cancer) and Stages 1, 2A and 2B. Advanced or secondary prostate cancer stages include Stages 2B, 3A-C and 4.

What are the common general signs and symptoms of prostate cancer?

It should be noted that many prostate cancer signs and symptoms are also associated with other diseases and conditions and may not necessarily indicate prostate cancer.

Most prostate cancers grow slowly in comparison to other cancers. In its early stages, prostate cancer may not have any signs or symptoms.

In advanced prostate cancer, the patient may experience one or more of the following symptoms: blood in the urine or semen, problems getting and maintaining an erection, needing to urinate more often or a weak urinary stream, pain while ejaculating, or loss of bladder or bowel control.

If the cancer has spread, the patient may experience numbness or weakness in the legs and feet, or pain in the hips, back, or chest.

If patients are experiencing any prostate cancer signs and symptoms, or if they suspect something is not quite right, they should visit their doctor.

The earlier prostate cancer is detected, the more likely it is that treatment can successfully remove the cancer and prevent it from reoccurring.