Prostate cancer occurs when a tumor develops in the prostate gland, which makes the liquid portion of semen. Cancer that spreads outside the prostate gland to the lymph nodes, bones, or other areas is called metastatic prostate cancer. Currently, no treatments can cure advanced prostate cancer. However, there are ways to help control its spread and related symptoms.
Treatments that slow the spread of advanced prostate cancer and relieve symptoms often cause side effects. Some patients, often...
Bladder obstruction - Not urinating or urinating very little despite drinking enough fluid; producing little urine despite straining; pain due to a full bladder
Acute kidney failure - Not urinating or urinating little, with little discomfort, despite drinking enough fluid
Deep bone pain, especially in the back, hips, or thighs, or bone fracture - Possible sign of advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bones
Spinal cord compression is a true emergency and may be the first sign of cancer. It occurs when the cancer has spread to vertebrae of the spine and tailbone region. The weakened vertebrae can collapse on the spinal cord, causing symptoms and problems with function.
Symptoms depend on the level at which the spine is compressed. Typical symptoms that might signal acute spinal cord compression include:
Increased difficulty urinating or moving your bowels
Difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels
Decreased sensation, numbness, or tingling in the groin or legs.
These symptoms are often preceded by pain in the hip (usually one sided) or back lasting a few days or weeks. Such symptoms require immediate evaluation in the nearest hospital emergency department. Failure to be treated immediately can result in permanent spinal cord damage.
Author: Hardik C Soni, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Martin Luther King Jr/Charles Drew Medical Center.
Coauthor(s): Eugene Hardin, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science; Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Martin Luther King, Jr/Drew Medical Center.
Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Jerry Balentine, DO, Professor of Emergency Medicine, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine; Medical Director, Saint Barnabas Hospital.