Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Early Signs of Prostate Cancer

There are no warning signs of early prostate cancer. You can’t feel the growing tumor pushing against anything else, so there’s no pain. You can have the disease for years and not know it. That’s why regular prostate cancer screenings are so important.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Once a tumor causes your prostate gland to swell, or once cancer spreads beyond your prostate, you may have symptoms including:

  • The need to pee often, especially at night
  • Trouble starting or stopping a stream of urine
  • A weak stream or one that starts and stops
  • Leaking pee when you laugh or cough
  • Not being able to pee standing up
  • Pain or burning when you pee
  • Pain or burning when you ejaculate
  • Less fluid when you ejaculate
  • Blood in your pee or semen
  • Pressure or pain in your rectum
  • Pain or stiffness in your lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs
  • New trouble getting an erection

These aren’t symptoms of the cancer itself. They happen because the cancer growth is blocking your prostate.

Symptoms of Advanced Prostate Cancer

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Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include:

  • Dull, deep pain or stiffness in your pelvis, lower back, ribs, or upper thighs; pain in the bones of those areas
  • Loss of weight and appetite
  • Fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Swelling of your lower limbs
  • Weakness or paralysis in your lower limbs, often with constipation
  • Bowel problems

Other Prostate Conditions

These symptoms don’t always mean you have prostate cancer. Some other conditions may have similar signs.

Prostatitis. This is often a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of your prostate gland. At least half of men will have it at some point. Medications can treat it. Prostatitis symptoms include:

  • Trouble peeing
  • Burning, stinging, or pain when you pee
  • An urgent need to pee often
  • Chills and fever
  • Lower back pain or body aches
  • Pain in your lower belly or groin, or behind your scrotum
  • Pressure or pain in your rectum
  • Sexual problems
  • Pain when you ejaculate

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). This is an enlarged prostate because of unusual cell growth that isn’t caused by cancer. Signs of BPH include:

  • Trouble starting a urine stream
  • Peeing often, especially at night
  • Feeling like your bladder hasn’t fully emptied after you pee
  • A strong or sudden urge to pee
  • Weak or slow urine stream
  • A urine stream that stops and starts several times while you pee
  • Pushing or straining to start a urine stream

Bladder infection. Your bladder holds your urine. The organ is located directly above your prostate. Some bladder cancer symptoms can overlap with those for prostate cancer. They may include:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Pain or burning feeling while you urinate
  • An urgent or frequent need to urinate, even if your bladder isn’t full
  • Waking up at night to urinate

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Erectile dysfunction. This condition makes it hard for you to get or keep an erection. It’s also called impotence. The main signs of erectile dysfunction is not being able to achieve an erection, or to have it last long enough to have sex.

Urinary tract infection (UTI). This can happen when bacteria grow in your bladder or kidneys. Some infections are caused by BPH blocking the flow of urine out of your bladder. Doctors treat them with antibiotics. UTI symptoms include:

  • Needing to pee more than usual or more often
  • A strong urge to pee
  • Pain, discomfort, or burning when you pee
  • Pain, pressure, or tenderness in your lower belly, side, or upper back
  • Urine that looks cloudy or smells bad
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting

When to See Your Doctor About Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Talk to your doctor if:

  • You have trouble urinating or find that urination is painful or different from usual. Your doctor should check your prostate gland to see whether it is enlarged, inflamed with an infection, or cancerous.
  • You have pain that doesn’t go away in your lower back, pelvis, upper thighbones, or other bones.
  • You lose weight for no clear reason.
  • You have swelling in your legs.
  • You have weakness in your legs or a hard time walking, especially if you also have constipation.

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