What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?
Prostate cancers usually do not have any symptoms in the early stages. Early
cases are either diagnosed because the physician performs a digital rectal exam
(DRE) and feels an abnormality in the gland, or because the PSA blood test is
used to screen for the cancer. The presence of symptoms usually indicates
Advanced prostate cancers can lead to many symptoms such as weakness in urinary
stream, difficulty in initiation of urination, difficulty with emptying the
bladder completely, a burning sensation with urination, blood in the urine,
weight loss, or bone pain. However, these symptoms are NOT specific for cancer
and in fact are much more commonly associated with other prostate and bladder
conditions such benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or bladder infection.
The most common site for prostate cancer to spread is to bones. Pain in the
lower back, ribs, pelvis, and other bony structure are the most common
presenting symptom in patients with bony metastases. When the patient has
metastatic disease to the spine, symptoms of spinal cord compression may
develop. Common symptoms found in spinal cord compression include pain, urinary
incontinence, paraplegia, and paralysis. Spine cord compression is a medical
emergency and may cause permanent paralysis if not treated appropriately within
a limited amount of time.
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