Prostate cancer symptoms tend to be noticed only in the later stages of the disease, when cancer causes the prostate gland to swell, or once cancer spreads beyond the prostate. Most prostate cancer symptoms are actually caused by a blockage from the cancer growth in the prostate, not the cancer itself. Prostate cancer grows within the prostate, often very slowly over several years, and it may then spread beyond the prostate. It may grow into neighboring tissues, known as invasion. It may spread through the lymph system. Or, it may travel to other parts of the body through the blood, known as metastasis.
Common Prostate Cancer Symptoms
- Frequent urination, especially at night
- Difficulty starting or stopping flow of urine
- Trouble getting an erection, known as erectile dysfunction
- Leaking urine when laughing or coughing
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Blood in urine or semen
Prostate Cancer Screening
Physicians rely on prostate cancer screening to catch prostate cancer in its earliest stages, before symptoms present, when it can be treated more successfully. Men age 50 and older should receive a yearly prostate cancer screening exam. Men with high risk usually begin screening earlier.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
If you’ve noticed symptoms of prostate cancer, talk with your doctor. The first step is often a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), which is a physical exam that allows your doctor to evaluate the texture, shape and size of the prostate gland, or a Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, in which a blood sample is used to check for high levels of PSA. If an abnormality is detected on either of those exams, an ultrasound or a biopsy may be ordered.
Don’t Ignore Your Symptoms
Don’t neglect your health. Don’t try to tough it out or “wait and see.” If you have a health concern, visit your doctor and get it checked out. The best way to take care of yourself and those you love is to take an active role in your healthcare. Visit the experienced physicians and technologists at the Association of Alexandria Radiologists for quality care from a team that understands men’s health.