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For Everyone Touched By Cancer

Signs of Prostate Cancer: What to Look for

Written by Cancer Care Parcel on 
25th April, 2023
Updated: 29th January, 2024
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Prostate cancer is a disease that affects many people worldwide.

The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in the male reproductive system. It is in charge of producing semen, which nourishes and transports sperm. While most kinds of prostate cancer grow slowly and don't cause serious problems, some are aggressive and spread quickly. It is essential to detect any signs of prostate cancer quickly.

This type of cancer is one of the most common ones in people with a prostate. That's why it´s of extreme importance to know the typical symptoms of prostate cancer so that you can get an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. With prostate cancer, early treatment makes all the difference. When prostate cancer is still confined to the prostate gland, that's to say it is early prostate cancer and it hasn't spread, there are more chances of successful treatment.

What are the warning signs of cancer prostate?

There are rarely any symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancers. However, the prostate gland is near the bladder and urethra, so the first cancer signs usually relate to urination. Due to its location, the tumor tends to press on and constrict the urethra. Therefore, depending on its size, it may hinder the flow of urine and the discharge of semen.

Here is a list of the warning signs and symptoms early prostate cancer may bring about:

  • Burning and pain during urination
  • Difficulty releasing the urine
  • Need to urinate more, especially at night
  • Trouble starting and stopping urinating
  • Being unable to hold in the urine
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Painful ejaculation

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any prostate cancer symptoms. Early diagnosis helps prevent metastatic prostate cancer and increases your chances of survival. These signs aren't always indicators of prostate cancer. Other conditions, such as prostatitis, also cause burning while peeing and problems in the urine flow. Remember: there is no harm in visiting a health professional and getting a screening to double-check if you have any prostate cancer symptoms.

What are the late-stage prostate cancer symptoms?

What makes this cancer serious is its ability to metastasize. It may invade other body parts outside the prostate, such as the bones, lymph nodes, lungs, and liver. While most people are likely to recover from early prostate cancer, advanced cancer is harder to control. At this point, it may respond to the treatment options available, but there are fewer chances of full recovery.

Moreover, when prostate cancer reaches this stage, several additional symptoms may appear. These signs depend on the part of the body cancer has spread to, among other factors. According to cancer research, advanced prostate cancer may cause these symptoms:

  • Swelling in legs or pelvic area
  • Numbness in the lower limbs
  • Stiffness in the lower back (spine), back hips, pelvis, thighs, or chest (ribs)
  • Bone pain that may lead to fractures
  • Fatigue, nausea, and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Jaundice
  • Loss of weight and appetite
  • Bowel problems
  • Anemia

What is the leading cause of prostate cancer?

Even though experts are always looking for new information, the scientific community is still unsure about what causes this cancer. They know for sure that it begins when normal cells in the prostate alter their DNA. This change makes the cancer cells grow and divide more rapidly than they should. This is how abnormal cells are created. These cells will survive, while others will die. If these abnormal cells gather, a tumor will be formed.

There are many aspects that could increase your chances of getting prostate cancer. According to cancer research, these risk factors may include:

  • Older age: specialists believe age is a huge factor. Doctors tend to recommend people over 50 get regular prostate cancer screenings. The risk increases as you age. It isn´t expected for younger people to get this disease. Statistics indicate that 6 out of 10 men who have prostate cancer are age 65 or older.
  • Ethnicity: for unknown reasons, Black and Caribbean people of African ancestry are more prone to developing prostate cancer. Moreover, these people are more likely to get aggressive or advanced prostate cancer. On the contrary, Asian-American and Hispanic people are less predisposed to this issue.
  • Family history: studies show that if prostate cancer runs in your family, your risk may increase. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles your chances of getting the disease. Also, a family history of breast cancer makes the risk of prostate cancer higher.
  • Obesity: apparently, a healthy weight makes you less prone to prostate cancer. However, different studies have come up with mixed results. What research could prove is that obese people have a higher risk of developing faster-growing prostate cancer. In addition, the treatments tend to be less effective for overweight people, as the cancer is likely to return after initial treatment.
  • Smoking: we all know that smoking increases your chances of getting cancer. Prostate cancer is no exception.
  • Inflammation of the prostate: Some studies link prostatitis, the inflammation of the prostate gland, to prostate cancer. While it is true that samples of cancerous prostate tissue usually show signs of inflammation, the link between the two is still under debate.
What is the leading cause of prostate cancer?

The Bottom Line

The importance of regular prostate cancer screenings is often underestimated. Patients usually wait until they feel the first symptoms, like erectile dysfunction or difficulty urinating, to diagnose prostate cancer. At this stage, it may not be too late. However, most patients don´t show any early symptoms of prostate cancer and, when they get a diagnosis, cancer has already metastasized. Not only does this lead to more painful symptoms, but this type of cancer is also harder to treat.

Depending on the stage of prostate cancer, your doctor will decide how to treat it. There are several treatment options available, such as surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy. During treatment, people get regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests to check progress. Castrate-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), a kind of cancer no longer responds to treatment, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy is usually recommended. These treatments buy people enough time to get better and help release pain.

In conclusion, being aware of the signs of prostate cancer is essential for early detection and productive treatment. Men should monitor their urination patterns and any changes in erectile function, as well as speak with their healthcare provider about regular prostate cancer screenings. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, may reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. By staying informed and proactive about their prostate health, men can take control of their well-being and potentially prevent or detect prostate cancer in its early stages.

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