Signs and Symptoms

What are the signs & symptoms of prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer symptoms do not usually manifest themselves in the early stages of the disease. Less than five percent of men with prostate cancer show early urinary symptoms. The condition has usually progressed to later stages when prostate cancer symptoms do arise.

Some men may experience symptoms that can indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Others may find out during a routine check-up, a blood test, or a rectal exam with their doctor. Because the symptoms of prostate cancer are similar to other symptoms patients, will need to go through further testing to determine whether they actually have prostate cancer.

Signs of Prostate Cancer

  • Abdominal pain: Pressure on the organs surrounding your prostate can cause lower abdomen pain and soreness. 
  • Anemia: Often prostate cancer patients develop anemia caused by bone marrow infiltration, androgen deprivation or treatment related toxicity.
  • Bloody semen: Inflammation or infection of the prostate gland can cause blood in the semen. 
  • Bloody urine (hematuria): Cancer of any part of the urinary tract including prostate cancer can cause of blood in urine. However, this can also be a symptom of other conditions such as kidney stones or urinary tract infections. 
  • Fatigue: A number of factors can cause fatigue in cancer patients. Treatments and medications, stress, depression, and lack of appetite are factors of fatigue. 
  • Problems urinating and incontinence: Anything that enlarges the prostate gland surrounding the urethra (such as a tumor) can obstruct the urethra, causing urination retention problems, trouble starting urination, incomplete emptying or a weak urine stream. 
  • Leg inflammation: The patient may experience leg inflammation or swelling if the prostate cancer tumor metastasizes into the bladder and blocks the urine is coming from the kidney.
  • Lower back pain/Spinal compression: Lower back or hip pain can occur when bone metastasis occurs and the spinal cord is compressed.
  • Weight loss: The functioning of the body, or treatments such as chemotherapy, can cause weight loss.

Advanced Prostate Cancer Symptoms

If the disease has progressed to late stages of prostate cancer, a number of possible complications can produce more severe symptoms. The cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Depending on where the cancer has spread, the patient may exhibit different symptoms. If the cancer has spread to the bone, the patient can experience bone pain, sensitivity, and even fractures. Kidney problems can occur if the cancer spreads to the ureters that carry urine from the bladder.

As with any condition, the exact set of symptoms experienced by a prostate cancer patient depend on a variety of factors including the:

  • Patient’s age  
  • Patient's current state of health
  • Stage of the cancer or how far along the cancer has progressed
  • Whether or not the cancer has spread to other areas of the body

Learn about the top risk factors contributing to prostate cancer.