© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
Often, prostate cancer is found through a PSA test or DRE (see Risk Factors and Prevention) in men who have not had any symptoms or signs. If prostate cancer is suspected based on a PSA test or DRE, more monitoring and testing is needed to diagnose prostate cancer (see Diagnosis). When prostate cancer does cause symptoms or signs, they may include the following:
- Frequent urination
- Weak or interrupted urine flow or need to strain to empty the bladder
- Blood in the urine
- The urge to urinate frequently at night
- Blood in the seminal fluid
- Pain or burning during urination (much less common)
- Discomfort when sitting, caused by an enlarged prostate
None of these symptoms is specific to prostate cancer. Men who have a noncancerous condition called BPH or an enlarged prostate also have these symptoms. Urinary symptoms also can be caused by an infection or other conditions. In addition, sometimes men with prostate cancer do not have any of these symptoms.
If cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, a man may experience:
- Pain in the back, hips, thighs, shoulders, or other bones
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.
If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.