Unlike many other cancers and serious health problems, prostate cancer does not usually show its symptoms during the earlier stages of its development. This can make it a lot more dangerous than many other cancers and in the US, it ranks amongst the top four most commonly diagnosed cancers (alongside breast, colorectal and lung).
How is prostate cancer diagnosed and detected?
Once again, unlike most cancers the signs of prostate cancer can develop very differently in each individual male as the cause of the cancer can also vary greatly. Due to these wide ranges of causes and symptoms, a number of different screening procedures may be required to clear or diagnose someone with prostate cancer. These screening techniques may include a PSA test (prostate specific test) or a DRE exam (digital rectal exam) and your doctor will be able to advise which of these screening procedures is best suited for your condition. If you are concerned about your risk or are aware that you have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, you should see your doctor for a consultation. It is recommended by most cancer agencies and trusts that from the age of 50 onwards, men undergo regular screenings for prostate cancer, due to its subtleties in its early stages.
What are the common symptoms of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer, much like a malignant tumor, has the ability to invade and spread through numerous tissues and bone structures. This processis known as metastasis. Due to this effect, symptoms of prostate cancer may include the following:
- Pain or aching during the process of ejaculation
- Persistent pain within the bones than may cause fracturing
- Blood passed out of the body in semen
- Leg and/or pelvic swelling
- Erectile dysfunction (problems with gaining an erection)
- Feelings of numbness in feet, hips and legs.
If the cancer spreads to areas of the spinal cord, it may cause pressure to be put on spinal nerves and increase the intensity of any other pain being felt.
Due to the location of the prostate gland in the body (situated close to the urethra and bladder regions), the symptoms of prostate cancer can be related and occur in conjunction with various symptoms of urination problems or difficulties. Furthermore, if the prostate tumor is situated close to the urethra and begins to press against it, the flow and passage of urine may be restricted and therefore become painful. As a consequence of this, other symptoms of prostate cancer and a tumor in the prostate gland can include:
- An increase in the frequency of urination (due to the increased pressure on the urethra)
- A decrease or total loss in the control of the bladder
- Haematuria (the presence of blood when urine is passed out of the body)
- Reduced flow rate when passing urine
- Feelings of pain when urinating