Prostate Cancer Signs

10 Early Signs of Prostate Cancer That Often Go Unnoticed
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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.

More Signs of Prostate Cancer That Often Go Unnoticed

4. Difficulty getting or keeping an erection. Yes, this one's really hard to talk about. But if it's not happening when you want it to, or things get stuck "half-mast," it's time for a checkup. (Female partners need to tread delicately around this one, but if it's happening often enough to interfere with your sex life on a regular basis, find a moment to introduce the subject in a kind and nonthreatening way.) Erectile problems are often caused by atherosclerosis (fatty buildup along the arteries), which can reduce blood flow to the penis, but they can also be due to a prostate tumor that interferes with erections or ejaculation.

5. Blood in the semen. This sign, like blood in the urine (#3), is often not described very clearly. It's not a large amount of blood, more like just enough to make semen pinkish or streaked, according to men with prostate cancer. Gals, you can help with this one too; if you notice an odd color to semen after sex, speak up.

6. Chronic constipation and other intestinal issues. The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum, so a tumor in this location can interfere with digestive functions. However, it's sort of a chicken-and-egg situation; chronic constipation can contribute to an enlarged prostate by putting pressure on the gland, and vice versa. Chronic constipation and intestinal problems can also be early indicators of colon cancer. A good general rule is this: If you're suffering from constipation, gas, or other intestinal symptoms that don't go away when you modify your diet, talk to the doctor.

7. Frequent pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs. The most common sites for prostate cancer to spread are the lower back, pelvis, and hips. Unexplained pain and tenderness in these areas are signs of trouble. One way to distinguish this type of pain from run-of-the-mill sciatica and lower back pain is that it may feel deeper and more like a dull ache. However, experts say any lower back or hip pain that doesn't go away is a reason to see the doctor.

Possible Early Signs of Prostate Cancer

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.

over 2 years ago, said...

Thanks for the 'heads-up' Thanks for the 'heads-up' Hide

over 2 years ago, said...

I am male and 70 years of age, I have been getting screenings since I was 40, I had a TURP done in 2012 due to back surgery, thankfully everything is back in working order, it's important that we men take care of ourselves. I am male and 70 years of age, I have been getting screenings since I was 40, I had a TURP done in 2012 due to back surgery, thankfully everything is back in working order, it's important that we men take care of ourselves. Hide

almost 3 years ago, said...

No 4 & 7 articles Thanks a lot No 4 & 7 articles Thanks a lot Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

I'm an expert on my own health issues.Nobody else's. I'm an expert on my own health issues.Nobody else's. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Having just read the lengthy comment regarding marijuana, as well as several other articles & comments, the essence seems to be in the core of the plant &/or its source of survival & growth. surely, if the humble seed is able to flourish, it must have numerous qualities with which to overcome anything unfavourable to its survival, growth & going through the full cycle to the next generation. That strong must have plenty of qualities which when adapted to our use would be equally strong. That... Show more Having just read the lengthy comment regarding marijuana, as well as several other articles & comments, the essence seems to be in the core of the plant &/or its source of survival & growth. surely, if the humble seed is able to flourish, it must have numerous qualities with which to overcome anything unfavourable to its survival, growth & going through the full cycle to the next generation. That strong must have plenty of qualities which when adapted to our use would be equally strong. That this applies to hemp also makes sense, legalising would put umpteen gangs & the like out of business. surely there must be better value to the tobacco plant than burning it! Smoking in any form is the opposite of practical use of the untrammeled plant. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

If i have to go down i am not going without a fight.This means i am not going to believe a doctor telling me that i have to use what they have to offer.We have all been lied to about what works and what only puts off the worst.All the treatments are being used out of greed.Legalize marijuana and cure your own illness.Take a step in the right direction for a change.You will see Colarado getting ready to heal illness's of people from all over the world.They didn't legalize pot just for the... Show more If i have to go down i am not going without a fight.This means i am not going to believe a doctor telling me that i have to use what they have to offer.We have all been lied to about what works and what only puts off the worst.All the treatments are being used out of greed.Legalize marijuana and cure your own illness.Take a step in the right direction for a change.You will see Colarado getting ready to heal illness's of people from all over the world.They didn't legalize pot just for the potheads people.The resins from marijuana causes cancer to kill itself.Topically or ingested is the answer.All the presidents we have had since 1974 have known about marijuana and what it can do for our health.There is to much money involved in cancer to let it all be shut down by a simple thing as marijuana and people being able to treat their own illness's.Doctors try to give people the idea that cancer is rocket science and it isn't.God put us on this earth and he gave us a brain.I don't know if there is anything to this,but almost everyone that gets these prostrate cancers used cows milk.Get the microwaves out of your house and switch to seed milks like almond and hemp seed milk.This is where i'm at and you don't have to go there,but the food and air we take in is getting us sick.You can smoke pot until the cows come home and it won't heal you until you ingest the resins of the marijuana.They are making it now so that it doesn't get you stoned and still cures.This is one of the best sites to go to,because it will tell you when to start treating your illness on your own.I had a problem years ago urinating.I found an artical about a women by the name of Joana Budwig on the internet.Her treatment was flax seed oil.I got me a coffee grinder and grinded up some real flax sead and sprinkled it on my food and used it this way until i started urinating correctly.It worked for me.You should only grind enough that you can use in a couple of days,because it goes bad fast.How they can sell flax sead ground in the grocers is beyound me.After you grind it up you have to keep it in the frig or it will go rancit overnight.Before a person buys this flax at the store they need to do some research on it first for Gods sake. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

What makes you an expert on men's health issues? What makes you an expert on men's health issues? Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Do you not have any male doctors to address men's problems? I am tired of hearing what to do with my body from women who are seeking empowerment over men. Do you not have any male doctors to address men's problems? I am tired of hearing what to do with my body from women who are seeking empowerment over men. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Where are the male doctors dealing with men's health problems? Where are the male doctors dealing with men's health problems? Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

I had only two of the symptoms. Blood in the semen and back pain. My PSA numbers were good but by the time I was sent to a urologist I had stage 3 cancer. Afer removal I underwent chemo theraphy, radiation theraphy and hormone theraphy. It's been two years and so far I'm doing okay. I miss sex though. I had only two of the symptoms. Blood in the semen and back pain. My PSA numbers were good but by the time I was sent to a urologist I had stage 3 cancer. Afer removal I underwent chemo theraphy, radiation theraphy and hormone theraphy. It's been two years and so far I'm doing okay. I miss sex though. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

although I am in the age group where such items like this are expected to emerge, from the various descriptions given, I seem to be well clear of these, Urination can take a couple of visits early morning, but not always, it does pay ti limit evening intake of course. The risk signs are good to be made aware of though! although I am in the age group where such items like this are expected to emerge, from the various descriptions given, I seem to be well clear of these, Urination can take a couple of visits early morning, but not always, it does pay ti limit evening intake of course. The risk signs are good to be made aware of though! Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Cannabis oil kills cancer cells with no side affects.Now i'd say this is something that everyone should know about,don't you.What are you waiting for?Waiting for someone to hold your hand and lead you in the right direction?Who ever is reading this is on a computer,so take the first step and go to google and type in Cannabis oil/cancer,or just cannabis cancer and start reading and watch some videos on the subject while your there.You will see some sites saying it's no good,but folow that... Show more Cannabis oil kills cancer cells with no side affects.Now i'd say this is something that everyone should know about,don't you.What are you waiting for?Waiting for someone to hold your hand and lead you in the right direction?Who ever is reading this is on a computer,so take the first step and go to google and type in Cannabis oil/cancer,or just cannabis cancer and start reading and watch some videos on the subject while your there.You will see some sites saying it's no good,but folow that site and see where this false proffet is working from.There is more truth than lies about the stuff.It's been here for decades and some knew about it's good side.Every time these people get a good size hole in the wall someone fills it.The media is at fault for keeping it behind closed doors,but the people who know about it's healing side are using it and winning. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Good information about something I didn't know much about Good information about something I didn't know much about Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Any of you have a strong gut?Check out Cannabis Science Inc and just take a look at the four cancer patients self administering cannabis oil to their cancers.There are four different cancers.One patient had chemo and radiation first and the cannabis oil would have cured him without the conventional treatments.For over fifty years they have been looking for a cure for cancer and all this time they had a treatment that would probably do the trick,but we can't use it because we could cure... Show more Any of you have a strong gut?Check out Cannabis Science Inc and just take a look at the four cancer patients self administering cannabis oil to their cancers.There are four different cancers.One patient had chemo and radiation first and the cannabis oil would have cured him without the conventional treatments.For over fifty years they have been looking for a cure for cancer and all this time they had a treatment that would probably do the trick,but we can't use it because we could cure ourselves and grow the medicine in our backyards.Here is a good example of something that works really good,but you are not suposed to know about it.Kudsoo is a plant that most call a burden.Farmers that have this plant growing on their farms bail this stuff and feed it to their cattle.Becuase of this practice these farmers have less visits from the vets for their cattle.This Kudsoo is apparently a healing plant and if you put it in a frying pan and cook it it taste like potato chips and it also heals wounds on humans.Can someone tell me why in the world would the US want a patient on Marijuana for if it wasn't good for health purpose's.I have got a lot of response's from my comments about cannabis oil and not a one of them have ever said that cannabis oil didn't kill cancer cells.I think what is scaring people is that illness can be treated at home and not in a doctors office in a hospital.If you don't think that this stuff is the magic bullet than your nuts.A year ago a person could go to Google and type in cannabis cancer and about a thousands sites would be there.Try it nowWell over a million sites now in fifteen seconds.These people who know about how this oil cures illness will only get greater and the people who have been lied to for the last fifty or sixty years are going to educated and they are not going to be to happy Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

I would like to have a discussion with other men who are facing prostate problrms. I am not interested in any further abuse by female medical practistioners, I am in Columbia, MD and am desparate for treatment. I have had the 12 incisions into my prostate to test for cancer. Now I want to now what is next besides having females abuse and humilate me. I would like to have a discussion with other men who are facing prostate problrms. I am not interested in any further abuse by female medical practistioners, I am in Columbia, MD and am desparate for treatment. I have had the 12 incisions into my prostate to test for cancer. Now I want to now what is next besides having females abuse and humilate me. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Can anyone else see what i am seeing.When these cancer doctors tell you they can treat you for seventyfive hundred to onehundredfifty thousand dollars and you still only have two more weeks to live.This is the same two weeks you had before you were offered the treatment,sound a little greedy to you.Isn't it about time to try something else.Like cure yourself.Who said our doctors are our god.Some of think that way because i'm always hearing that if your number is up it's over.This saying is... Show more Can anyone else see what i am seeing.When these cancer doctors tell you they can treat you for seventyfive hundred to onehundredfifty thousand dollars and you still only have two more weeks to live.This is the same two weeks you had before you were offered the treatment,sound a little greedy to you.Isn't it about time to try something else.Like cure yourself.Who said our doctors are our god.Some of think that way because i'm always hearing that if your number is up it's over.This saying is comming from what a doctor tells people.You are going to die without it or it will sooth some of the pain,but we are still going to treat you for a lot of money.Doctors want to much for the little they do to keep humankind alive for a very short time and they would have lived that long anyway.Are the pot heads scaring people away from using this cannabis oil.They have proved it kills cancer cells without harming any other organs,so if enough of this stuff is ingested it will surly kill all the cancer and you can use it for free if you grow your own.Nurture it like you would a cucumber plant or something.Couldit be that it is a plant why it's not used?I really think it's because you can cure yourself is why it's not being used personaly. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Informative, to the point information. Thank you. Informative, to the point information. Thank you. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

I thought PSA tests were discredited. I thought PSA tests were discredited. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

I am a 68 year old man. Any information may someday be helpful. I am a 68 year old man. Any information may someday be helpful. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Checking the article for symptoms against my probabilities of cancer, now I understand that , my doctor, by asking a yearly PSA test , will confirm or (hope),NOT the prostate cancer soonest. Thank you. Checking the article for symptoms against my probabilities of cancer, now I understand that , my doctor, by asking a yearly PSA test , will confirm or (hope),NOT the prostate cancer soonest. Thank you. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

I hate being a senior citizen. I'm only 61 after all. Mentally I'm only 14 though. Ask my wife she'll vouch for me. I hate being a senior citizen. I'm only 61 after all. Mentally I'm only 14 though. Ask my wife she'll vouch for me. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Not sure when this was written, but I believe it is no longer recommended to have annual PSA tests because of the huge number of false positive results causing either non-cancer or non life threatening cancers to be over treated. Many of these symptoms may be also attributed to Diabetes, and that should have been noted, as such a large number of Americans have this. No need to cause panic. Not sure when this was written, but I believe it is no longer recommended to have annual PSA tests because of the huge number of false positive results causing either non-cancer or non life threatening cancers to be over treated. Many of these symptoms may be also attributed to Diabetes, and that should have been noted, as such a large number of Americans have this. No need to cause panic. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

yes, the article was helpful, in that it mentioned new information. yes, the article was helpful, in that it mentioned new information. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

Most of those symptoms are symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperpasia. Which 60 per cent of men 60 and over get. The older you get, the more likely you'll have it. It is not cancer. Perhaps, you should have explained that, so that men and their S.O.'s are not needlessly alarmed. In any case, regular visits to a urologist should be the norm over 50 or 60. Most of those symptoms are symptoms of Benign Prostate Hyperpasia. Which 60 per cent of men 60 and over get. The older you get, the more likely you'll have it. It is not cancer. Perhaps, you should have explained that, so that men and their S.O.'s are not needlessly alarmed. In any case, regular visits to a urologist should be the norm over 50 or 60. Hide

over 3 years ago, said...

why not give this material in a form in which we could print it out to share with other men ????? why not give this material in a form in which we could print it out to share with other men ????? Hide

almost 4 years ago, said...

My husband of 30 yrs. has only one of the symptoms, ED. He has difficulty maintaining, but also appears to have a lack of 'feeling' during intercourse, which in turn leads to unfinished business. I keep asking him to see his doctor or a urologist. This request is to deaf ears. Is it a matter of pride? fear? I am trying to be sensitive about the issue, but I don't want him to find out there is/was a major problem that could have been less invasive or more readily addressed had he sought... Show more My husband of 30 yrs. has only one of the symptoms, ED. He has difficulty maintaining, but also appears to have a lack of 'feeling' during intercourse, which in turn leads to unfinished business. I keep asking him to see his doctor or a urologist. This request is to deaf ears. Is it a matter of pride? fear? I am trying to be sensitive about the issue, but I don't want him to find out there is/was a major problem that could have been less invasive or more readily addressed had he sought medical attetion sooner. Any advice? Hide