Prostate Cancer Signs & Symptoms
Prostate cancer commonly affects men over age 60 and is often diagnosed around age 65. While men under 40 can develop the disease, it's much less common in men in this age group. An annual physical and screening test are important to detect prostate cancer early because it rarely produces symptoms in its earliest, most treatable stages. Blood tests promote early detection and intervention, improving the chances of recovery.
As prostate cancer progresses, it produces some common symptoms. If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, it's important to visit your primary care provider; he or she can help rule out or confirm prostate cancer and other common problems that cause similar symptoms.
- urgency with urination
- frequent urination or more frequent urination at night
- difficulty starting a stream when urinating
- difficulty emptying the bladder; retaining urine after voiding
- a weak stream of urine or interruptions in the flow of urine
- blood in your semen
- blood in your urine
- pain in your pelvic, back, or hips that persists over time
- new erectile dysfunction symptoms
- pain with ejaculation
Other common conditions, like benign prostatic hypertrophy or BPH, prostatitis, or a urinary tract infection, can cause similar symptoms. Factors like getting older, smoking, heart disease, or diabetes can contribute to erectile dysfunction. The only way to determine whether your symptoms are caused by prostate cancer or another condition is to visit with your doctor, who may order lab or imaging tests to identify the underlying cause.
The most proactive approach involves scheduling an annual physical with your primary care provider, who will begin screening for prostate cancer once you reach age 50 (or earlier if you have relevant family history). These annual examinations and blood tests can improve your chances of detecting prostate cancer in its earliest stages, when treatment has the highest likelihood of success. Visit with your doctor about your medical history to determine the best physical and blood test schedule for you.