Prostate Cancer Symptoms and Signs — the Myths and the Facts

Prostate cancer is common; 1 in 6 males will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. Yet many of these males diagnosed will NOT show symptoms or signs of prostate cancer they are asymptomatic. Prostate cancer symptoms or signs do not often appear in the early stages. If symptoms or signs appear, it is most likely to be symptoms and signs of advanced prostate cancer. Waiting for symptoms of prostate cancer before often results in poor outcomes.

Although symptoms are a poor way to check for prostate cancer, it is still essential to recognise the symptoms and signs of prostate cancer as some cases are symptomatic. Checking for prostate cancer symptoms should be considered additive to normal, rigorous prostate cancer testing. This article provides a comprehensive guide to the symptoms and signs of prostate cancer covering the following:

1. What are the symptoms and signs of prostate cancer?

2. What related conditions also have these symptoms?

3. When do the symptoms and signs of prostate cancer appear?

4. What are the most common myths abour prostate cancer symptoms?

Because prostate cancer testing is personalised to the individual, this shouldn’t be considered medical advice for your situation and you should consult with specialists such as Maxwell Plus clinicians about your specific situation.


If you are looking to discuss your situation with a doctor who specialises in managing prostate cancer, our clinicians are ready to help. You can request a tele-consult with our clinicians by creating a secure account or by filling out our contact form.

1. What are the symptoms and signs of prostate cancer?

What are the symptoms of early-stage prostate cancer?

The following symptoms may be signs of early-stage prostate cancer.

  • Needing to urinate more frequently
  • Needing to rush to the toilet 
  • Straining or taking too long while urinating
  • An interrupted or slow flow of urine
  • Feeling that your bladder has not completely emptied
  • Discomfort when Urinating
  • Leaking urine (incontinence)

However, as can be seen in the following section, you can see that these heavily overlap with other, very common conditions. Nearly every male over the age of 50 will experience one or more of the above symptoms. So although these symptoms may be present, there is a good chance this does not indicate the presence of early-stage prostate cancer. That is why thorough, rigorous prostate cancer testing is required.

 

What are the symptoms of advanced-stage prostate cancer?

For advanced prostate cancer, the symptoms may include the ones listed in early-stage symptoms but also might extend to the following, more serious symptoms.

  • Blood in semen or urine
  • Pain in the lower back, groin or abdomen
  • Pain in bones or other areas
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite

If you have any of the above symptoms, you should discuss them with a doctor (such as Maxwell Plus Specialist Clinician) straight away.

2. What related conditions also have these symptoms?

If you are a male over the age of 50, you might be experiencing these symptoms regularly. However, this does not indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Several conditions affect men that have overlapping symptoms with prostate cancer.

Below is a list of the three most common conditions. These conditions are widespread. Nearly every man will experience one of these conditions in their lifetime.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

A non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate that can affect between 50-90% of men. Symptoms may include:

  1. Needing to urinate frequently at night (nocturia)
  2. Difficulty Urinating
  3. An interrupted or slow flow of urine
  4. Feeling that your bladder has not completely emptied
  5. Leaking Urine

Urinary Tract Infections

An infection in the urinary system that affects approximately 15% of men in their lifetime. Symptoms may include:

  1. Difficulty Urinating
  2. Needing to urinate more frequently
  3. Blood in the urine or semen
  4. Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen

Prostatis

An infection in the urinary system that affects approximately 15% of men in their lifetime. Symptoms may include:

  1. Difficulty Urinating
  2. Needing to Urinate frequently
  3. Pain when urinating or ejaculating
  4. Blood in the urine or semen
  5. Pain in the lower back, groin or abdomen

 

Did you need to understand your symptoms further?

3. When do the symptoms and signs of prostate cancer appear?

Symptoms and signs for prostate cancer generally only present in the advanced stage of prostate cancer. Once it has progressed beyond the localised stage, the more severe symptoms such as blood in the urine or pain in the abdomen generally only occur once the cancer is large enough to cause pressure in the region, such as Stage 3 or Stage 4.

How do doctors look for prostate cancer?

If symptoms are not a good indicator, how do doctors look for prostate cancer? This is all done through testing and there are a few way doctors test for prostate cancer. Our prostate cancer testing article goes into detail about how testing occurs, but there are four main ways doctors look for signs of prostate cancer. Those are:

  1. Understanding your prostate cancer risk factors
  2. Blood Tests — PSA Test (Prostate-Specific Antigen Test)
  3. Physical exams — Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)
  4. Medical Imaging — MRIs
The best way to understand your prostate cancer risk is through our free prostate cancer risk assessment. It takes you through all the essential questions that will appropriately categorise and classify your risk.

4. What are the most common myths abour prostate cancer symptoms?

Myth 1: Prostate cancer always shows symptoms and signs

False: Prostate cancer rarely shows symptoms and signs. When it does, this is usually indicative of advanced prostate cancer, which means it is much more challenging to treat and has severe outcomes.

Myth 2: I only need to get tested for prostate cancer if I show symptoms and signs

False: A baseline test at 40 for males should be considered and continue annually from 50. The frequency and type of test will change depending on other risk factors such as age and family history.

Myth 3: If I need to urinate frequently or have pain urinating, I have prostate cancer

False: Urinary symptoms are prevalent in men over the age of 50. The only way to know whether it is for a more benign condition is to test regularly and properly

Myth 4: Prostate cancer only develops in older men who show symptoms

False: Prostate cancer is not uncommon in men under the age of 50. The younger the age of diagnosis, the more aggressive the cancer. As you already know, symptoms generally don’t occur in prostate cancer.

Myth 5: I should ignore my urinary symptoms; this just happens to men who get older.

False: Urinary symptoms should be investigated. If you aren’t already being tested for prostate cancer, this needs to begin if you are 40 or over.

Is one of your loved ones suffering from symptoms?

Ilease encourage them to seek professional advice. Maxwell Plus is available to help them. We handle all reminders, and we will even co-sponsor their testing if they cannot afford the service. If you would like to refer your family members to us you can read this article on how to refer your friends and family to Maxwell Plus.

Summary — Prostate cancer family history symptoms and signs

There are four important things to remember about prostate cancer symptoms and signs.

  1. Prostate cancer is one of the most asymptomatic cancers. Symptoms rarely present until the later stages.
  2. Waiting for symptoms leads to poorer outcomes as it often leads to a late diagnosis.
  3. Prostate cancer symptoms heavily overlap with prevalent male conditions such as BPH.
  4. Testing is the only way to be sure. Make sure you are getting tested properly.

If you have any questions about your health situation or require a doctor to talk to, please let us know by filling out the form below. We will be happy to help.

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