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The Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Last Revised April 8, 1998

There are no clear symptoms of prostate cancer which can be easily assessed by the patient himself. This makes prostate cancer very different from breast cancer or testicular cancer in which regular self examination can be important in finding early signs of the disease.

A big problem with prostate cancer is that many of the early signs of the disease can be caused by other disorders or, worse still, are just among the normal consequences of growing older. Another big problem is that usually prostate cancer does not cause signs or symptoms for many years after the disease starts to develop.

Despite the fact that prostate cancer has no definitive set of symptoms, all of the following have been identified by the National Cancer Institute as possible indicators of prostate cancer -- and many other clinical problems:

  • Frequent urination (especially at night)
  • Inability to urinate
  • Trouble starting to urinate or trouble holding back urination
  • Pain during ejaculation
  • A weak or interrupted urine flow
  • Pain or a burning feeling during urination
  • Blood in the semen or in the urine
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs.

Since all these symptoms may be caused not only by prostate cancer, but also by a number of other disorders (and not just other disorders of the prostate), it would be wise to talk to your family doctor if you or someone else in your family is having one or more of these problems on a regular basis. Only a properly trained, experienced physician will be able to tell whether these symptoms are, in fact, associated with the possibility of prostate cancer.

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The content in this section of the Phoenix 5 site was originally developed by CoMed Communications (a Vox Medica company) as part of The Prostate Cancer InfoLink. It is reproduced here with the permission of Vox Medica.

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