What Are the Five Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers that men face. While prostate cancer rarely produces obvious symptoms in its early stages, there are a few signs that may signal something is wrong in the prostate.
Here are five potential warning signs of prostate cancer:
- A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
- Frequent urination, particularly at night
- Difficulty stopping or starting urination
- Sudden erectile dysfunction
- Blood in urine or semen
Other possible early signs of prostate cancer include unusually weak urine flow and unexplained pain around the prostate while sitting. If cancer has spread beyond the prostate gland, men may experience swelling in the lower body, back, hip or bone pain, abnormal bowel or urinary habits or unexplained weight loss.
It is important to note that the signs of prostate cancer are also shared by many other, less-serious conditions. If you are displaying one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. Similarly, a man who is diagnosed with prostate cancer may not have any of these symptoms.
Are there prostate cancer risk factors to consider?
Cancer researchers have identified several factors that could increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. In considering whether any of these risk factors apply to you, remember that having one or more of them does not mean you will get the disease. However, you should be sure to get all the prostate cancer screenings your physician recommends. It is also important to know that men without these risk factors may also have prostate cancer. If you have a high Prostate-specific antigen (PSA), consult with your healthcare provider or call Moffitt Cancer Center at 1-888-663-3488 to request an appointment.
Prostate cancer has long been considered a disease of the elderly, with the majority of cases diagnosed in men older than 65. However, there have been rare cases of men in their 30s with prostate cancer. Generally, the likelihood of a man having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50.
Race and ethnicity
According to the American Cancer Society, American and Caribbean men of African ancestry have higher prostate cancer rates than those of other races, and they also tend to be younger when the disease develops. Conversely, Asian American and Hispanic/Latino men have lower prostate cancer rates than non-Hispanic whites. The reasons for racial and ethnic variations in prostate cancer risk are unclear.
Men whose father or brother was diagnosed with prostate cancer face a significantly higher risk of developing the disease, and the risk increases if there are several relatives who received a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, it is important to note that most prostate cancers occur in men without a family history of the disease.
Other conditions causing similar symptoms
As was noted above, various other, less-serious conditions can produce many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer. These include:
- Benign (noncancerous) prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) – Commonly referred to as “prostate enlargement,” BPH can cause many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer, including pain while urinating, frequent urination, difficulty starting/stopping urination and bloody urine.
- Kidney stones – Like prostate cancer, kidney stones can make it painful to urinate and lead to bloody urine.
- Prostatitis – When the prostate gland becomes inflamed due to an infection or an injury, it can cause painful and difficult urination.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) – Although UTIs most frequently occur in women, they’re also very common in men. They can cause painful urination, as well as a strong urge to urinate despite not being able to produce much urine.
What should I do if I have prostate cancer symptoms?
If you are displaying one or more signs of prostate cancer, be sure to promptly consult with a physician. Even benign prostate conditions like prostate enlargement warrant timely medical attention, so don’t delay seeking treatment. And, like most other malignancies, prostate cancer is usually more easily treated when it is detected at an early stage. When you visit an experienced medical provider, they’ll be able to pinpoint exactly what’s causing your symptoms and recommend the course of treatment that’s best suited to your specific needs.
Prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment at Moffitt
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we provide a full range of diagnostic testing for prostate cancer. If you have received a prostate cancer diagnosis, we understand that every day counts, and we want to support you every step of the way. Our Urologic Oncology Program includes a multispecialty team that focuses exclusively on evaluating and treating prostate cancer.
Contact Moffitt at 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online to speak with one of our specialized oncologists about your symptoms—no referral is required. As Florida’s top cancer hospital, we’re committed to providing all new patients rapid access to a cancer expert.
Medically reviewed by Monica Chatwal, MD.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Prostate Cancer – What Are the Symptoms?
MedlinePlus: Enlarged Prostate
National Kidney Foundation: Kidney Stones
Urology Care Foundation: Prostatitis (Infection of the Prostate)
Urology Care Foundation: Urinary Tract Infections in Adults