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Prostate Cancer Signs

10 Early Signs of Prostate Cancer That Often Go Unnoticed

By , Caring.com senior editor
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Image by kayugee used under the creative commons attribution no derivs license.

Sadly, many men don't find out they have prostate cancer until the cancer has spread, making it more difficult to treat. This is because in the early stages, prostate cancer often doesn't have many symptoms. That's a problem because prostate cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in American men, after skin cancer.

The good news is that there are signs to be alert for. If you or a man in your life notices any of these changes, it's important to head to the doctor for a checkup sooner rather than later.

Keep in mind: Each of these signs has other possible causes, and one sign alone isn't something to panic about. But by paying close attention to what your body is doing, and by talking candidly with your doctor about what you're feeling, you may be able to get relief -- and possibly even spot prostate cancer early, if it arises.

1. Difficulty urinating. This may take the form of feeling like you have to go and then nothing comes out, stopping midstream, or having to go more often. Another sign is difficulty stopping, which often takes the form of extended dribbling, or the feeling that you still have to go even when you're done. Because the prostate gland surrounds the urethra -- the tube that carries both urine and semen -- even a very small tumor in this location can interfere with urination or ejaculation. Bear in mind, however, that the prostate gland becomes enlarged in many men as they age, and this enlargement, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is the more likely cause of urinary problems.

2. Pain while urinating. Again, the problem may be a prostate tumor pressing on the urethra. However, pain while urinating is a classic symptom of infection in the urinary tract. It can also signal an infection of the prostate, known as prostatitis.

3. Blood in the urine. This sign is less common, and it's a reason to go straight to the doctor. It doesn't have to be very much blood; all you might notice is a pinkish tint or smear. Blood in the urine is often caused by infections in the bladder or prostate, by kidney stones, and by BPH. However, in some cases it's due to a tumor in the prostate, bladder, or kidney.