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Understanding Prostate Cancer -- Symptoms

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What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

There are no warning signs of early prostate cancer. Once a tumor causes the prostate gland to swell, or once cancer spreads beyond the prostate, the following symptoms may happen:

  • A frequent need to urinate, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine
  • A weak or interrupted urinary stream
  • Leaking of urine when laughing or coughing
  • Inability to urinate standing up
  • A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen

These are not symptoms of the cancer itself; instead, they are caused by the blockage from the cancer growth in the prostate. They can also be caused by an enlarged, noncancerous prostate or by a urinary tract infection.

Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer include:

  • Dull, deep pain or stiffness in the pelvis, lower back, ribs, or upper thighs; pain in the bones of those areas
  • Loss of weight and appetite, fatigue, nausea, or vomiting
  • Swelling of the lower extremities
  • Weakness or paralysis in the lower limbs, often with constipation

Call Your Doctor About Prostate Cancer If:

  • You have trouble urinating or find that urination is painful or different from normal; your doctor should examine your prostate gland to determine whether it is enlarged, inflamed with an infection, or cancerous.
  • You have chronic pain in your lower back, pelvis, upper thighbones, or other bones. Pain in these areas can be caused by different things, including the spread of prostate cancer.
  • You have unexplained weight loss.
  • You have swelling in your legs.
  • You have weakness in your legs or difficulty walking, especially if you also have constipation.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Sujana Movva, MD on March 14, 2015
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