Health Conditions A-Z Cancer Prostate Cancer Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer By Lindsay Curtis Lindsay Curtis Website Lindsay Curtis is a freelance health & medical writer in South Florida. Prior to becoming a freelancer, she worked as a communications professional for health nonprofits and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Nursing. Her work has appeared in many mediums, including blogs, social media, magazines, reports, brochures and web content. health's editorial guidelines Published on January 3, 2023 Medically reviewed by Archana Sharma, DO, FAAP Medically reviewed by Archana Sharma, DO, FAAP Archana Sharma, DO, FAAP is a pediatrician and active participant in a collaborative group that studies the effects of COVID-19 in pediatric oncology. The group has published its findings in prominent journals. learn more Share Tweet Pin Email In This Article View All In This Article Common Symptoms Less Common Symptoms Advanced Stage Symptoms When to See a Healthcare Professional Prostate cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in the prostate gland, forming a tumor. In the early stages of the disease, prostate cancer usually does not cause symptoms. As the disease progresses, symptoms of prostate cancer can include frequent urination, weak or interrupted urine stream, painful ejaculation, blood in urine or semen, erectile dysfunction, and pain in the back, groin, or chest. If you have these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have prostate cancer. Other conditions that affect the prostate, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) and prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) cause similar symptoms. Prostate Cancer Overview HeroImages / Getty Images Common Symptoms The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located in the lower pelvis in front of the rectum and just below the bladder. The prostate wraps around the urethra, a tube that empties urine from the bladder. When a tumor presses on or constricts the urethra, it can cause some of the more common symptoms of prostate cancer: Frequent Urination Frequent urination is the need to urinate more than usual. Most people don’t know how many times they urinate each day, but people with prostate cancer may notice they are making more bathroom trips than normal. Nocturia (Excessive Nighttime Urination) Nocturia, or excessive nighttime urination, is when you wake up more than once a night to urinate. The body slows down urine production at night, which allows most people to sleep between six to eight hours without waking to use the bathroom. Though nocturia can be a symptom of prostate cancer, there are many other causes, including aging. Reasons Why You're Getting Up To Pee So Much at Night Urinary Urgency Along with frequent urination, prostate cancer can cause a sudden, overwhelming need to urinate right away. Urinary urgency can make it difficult to “hold it,” and may be accompanied by discomfort in the bladder or urinary tract. Difficulty Urinating Having trouble urinating, known as urinary hesitancy, can include problems with starting the stream of urine, a weak or slow stream, or a stream that frequently starts and stops. Feeling like the bladder is not completely emptied and dribbling (leaking) urine are also possible signs of prostate cancer. Less Common Symptoms Other symptoms of prostate cancer may also occur. These include: Painful Ejaculation Pain during or immediately after ejaculation can be a sign of prostate cancer. This may be felt in the penis, testes, rectum, or lower abdomen. Painful ejaculations range from mild discomfort to excruciating and may last a few seconds or longer. Blood in the Urine or Semen Blood in the urine (hematuria) or blood in the semen (hematospermia) can occur when a tumor in the prostate gland presses on the urethra or surrounding glands and blood vessels. This can irritate or block these structures, causing blood to appear in urine or semen. Sudden Onset Erectile Dysfunction Erectile dysfunction (ED) is when it is difficult to get or keep an erection. Aging is a common cause of ED, but is typically gradual in onset. Sudden onset erectile dysfunction may be a sign of prostate cancer. This can occur when a tumor compresses or damages nerves that control blood flow to the penis. Advanced Stage Symptoms If cancer has metastasized (spread) outside of the prostate, other symptoms can occur. These include: Pain in the Back, Hips, or Chest When prostate cancer spreads, the bones are almost always the first part of the body affected. This is known as bone metastases. Cancer can spread to any area of the body, but the back, hips, and ribs are the most common sites of bone metastases. Swelling in the Legs or Feet Swelling in the legs and feet may occur when prostate cancer spreads to the lymph nodes in the pelvis. The lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system, which collects excess fluid from body tissues and organs, filters it, and returns it back to the bloodstream. When cancer cells enter lymph nodes and block lymph drainage channels, fluid can build up and lead to swelling. Unintentional Weight Loss Unintentional weight loss is often a sign of advanced prostate cancer. Cancer cells demand a lot of the body’s energy supply, causing the body to burn more calories than normal. Loss of appetite and fatigue common in advanced prostate cancer can also contribute to weight loss. Numbness and Weakness in Limbs When cancer spreads to the spine, the tumor may compress the spinal cord and cause a range of symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms and legs. Loss of control of the bladder and bowel may also occur, which can lead to incontinence (leaking urine or feces) or difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel. When to See a Healthcare Professional If you have any symptoms of prostate cancer, see your healthcare provider. Not everyone who experiences these symptoms has prostate cancer. Other conditions that affect the prostate, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) and prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), cause similar symptoms. Your healthcare provider can investigate to determine the cause and provide treatment. A Quick Review Prostate cancer is a slow-growing disease that does not usually cause symptoms in the early stages. More advanced prostate cancer may cause symptoms such as frequent urination, a weak urine stream, erectile dysfunction, and blood in the urine or semen. Other prostate conditions, such as an enlarged prostate, cause similar symptoms. If you have symptoms of prostate cancer, it’s important to make an appointment with your healthcare provider so they can find and treat the cause. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Health.com uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. American Cancer Society. Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer. American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Prostate cancer: Symptoms and signs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is prostate cancer? MedlinePlus. Frequent or urgent urination. MedlinePlus. 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