Prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Prostate cancer usually grows very slowly, and doesn’t tend to cause any symptoms until it’s at a more advanced stage. However, there are some types of prostate cancer that grow aggressively and can spread quickly, causing a sudden onset of symptoms.
Some common signs and symptoms of prostate cancer you need to be aware of include:
- Pain or burning while urinating
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination and/or straining to empty bladder
- Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
- Blood in the urine or in semen
- Recent trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED)
- Painful ejaculation
- Discomfort when sitting (caused by an enlarged prostate)
- Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
- Loss of bladder control
- Pain or pressure in the lower back, hips, testicles, rectum or pelvis
Most of these problems can be the result of something other than prostate cancer. For example, urination issues could be related to benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), which is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. Additionally, ED issues could be related to factors such as smoking, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or simply getting older.
Even still, if you are experiencing symptoms, it’s important to have them checked out by a doctor, even if they turn out to be something other than prostate cancer.
Regular screenings can help your doctor diagnose prostate cancer and direct you for treatment, if needed, with more positive outcomes. Even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms, you may want to consult with your doctor about prostate cancer screening. The American Cancer Society recommends that you start discussing prostate cancer screenings with your doctor around the age of 50 if you are at average risk. Higher risk men should begin screening at age 40 or 45. When you begin screening for prostate cancer will depend on your family history, medical history, and risk factors. Together, you can decide what would be best for you.