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Possible Early Signs of Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Signs: Page 3

By , Caring.com senior editor
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8. Having to pee in the middle of the night. This is one of the sly symptoms that men diagnosed with prostate cancer say they remember, now that they look back. If you find yourself waking more than once a night urgently needing to go, a trip to the doctor is in order. Bear in mind, though, that this symptom is far more likely to be caused by BPH or an overactive bladder than by prostate cancer.

9. Leaking or dribbling urine. Here's one almost no one talks about, but we need to. It's basically the male version of urinary incontinence, which typically occurs on a small but still noticeable scale. Longer bathroom trips while you wait for the dribbling to stop or leakage on the way to the bathroom are the telltale signs. Women, if while doing the laundry you notice that his pants or jeans smell like pee, delicately suggest a visit to the doctor. As the doctor will explain, this symptom is most likely due to BPH or overactive bladder, but, combined with other symptoms, it may indicate that more testing is in order.

10. You're over 50 and have risk factors. Since early prostate cancer most often has no symptoms at all, men who are at risk need to talk to their doctors and consider having regular PSA tests and rectal exams (sorry!), whether they notice anything odd happening or not. Family history -- especially a father who had prostate cancer -- being overweight, eating a high-fat diet, being of African-American descent, and smoking all increase your risk of prostate cancer. Another one many men don't know: If the women in your family have a history of breast cancer, you may carry faulty genes that increase your prostate cancer risk.

If you're wondering just how high your risk for prostate cancer is, consider trying one of the available online prostate cancer risk calculators:

University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center Prostate Cancer Risk Calculator

What You Should Know About Being Evaluated for Possible Prostate Cancer

Once you bring your symptoms to your doctor's attention, you'll want to discuss possible next steps. Unfortunately, there's currently no good, simple way to determine whether a man's symptoms are due to prostate cancer or not. Doctors often use the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, both to screen men without symptoms and to evaluate men with symptoms. However, multiple studies have shown that the PSA test is often high in men without cancer, and it can be low in men with cancer. In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against routine PSA-based screening for prostate cancer. This means that to really evaluate for cancer, a biopsy of the prostate is usually necessary.

Despite the controversies surrounding PSA testing of men without symptoms, PSA testing does remain an important step in evaluating a man who does have symptoms of possible prostate cancer. Still, it's good to discuss the implications of testing with your doctor before having this test.

If you're concerned about prostate cancer or need more information about screening, check out the Center for Disease Control's handy Prostate Screening Decision guide.