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Prostate Cancer Symptoms: What are the symptoms of prostate cancer

Updated on August 25, 2010

Prostate Cancer

According to conventional wisdom, any man who lives long enough will develop prostate cancer eventually. This statement is based upon the ubiquitous presence of malignant cancer cells that often go undetected, the number of which rises dramatically as men are getting older.

The nearly universal presence of malignant cells in the prostates of older men leads some people to view the disease as inevitable and to adopt an attitude of potentially dangerous apathy: Everyone gets this eventually, they reason, so I may as well just ignore it and hope for the best. The often propagated statement that more men die WITH prostate cancer than OF it seems to support the hazardous notion that doing nothing is a sensible approach.

Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Prostate cancer is usually growing very slowly and can take years or even decades, to cause serious health issues. The disease is highly preventable and curable while still localized, but difficult to stop once spreading cells become firmly established beyond the gland.

Early prostate cancer is silent, meaning it provides no forewarning of what is coming. Later, as the cancer is advanced enough to cause symptoms, it has already spread beyond the local area and has become incurable.

Urinary symptoms may include:

  • diminished size or force of the stream
  • decreased ability to control urinary flow
  • a sense of incomplete voiding of the bladder
  • pain or burning sensation during urination
  • having to get up during the night to urinate.

In case of BHP, these symptoms develop slowly over the course of years, while in case of cancer – these symptoms will develop quickly – usually in a period of a few months.

As prostate cancer progresses, some men develop acute urinary retention or inability to urinate, in which case a catherization or surgery is needed.

Another symptom is blood in urine (hematuria), typically at the beginning or end of the stream. If blood is present throughout the voiding, it’s more likely that bladder or kidney problems are the reason.

As cancer progresses, it may grow and block the ureters, the small tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Ureteral obstruction can cause flank or abdominal pain, as well as fever and chills – if the blockage causes infection or results in increased blood creatinine level. This can cause a risk of kidney damage or even kidney failure.

If cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, blockage of the lymphatic drainage system can lead to swelling of the scrotum, penis, feet, and legs.

Bone pain is the most common symptom of advanced prostate cancer. Some patients experience sudden weakness or radiating pain to the legs that can signal compression of the spinal cord. This requires quick medical intervention to prevent permanent paralysis.

Other symptoms include anemia, fatigue, and increased susceptibility to infections.

How the cancer progresses

Early prostate cancers grow very slowly, typically taking two to four years to double in size.

Over time, as the tumor grows and the cells become more aggressive, the growth rate accelerates. If prostate cancer is not treated while it is still curable, the disease will take an average of ten to twelve years to metasize and fifteen to seventeen years to cause death.

Of course these numbers are just averages. Actual outcomes differ greatly for patients, depending on the characteristics of their particular tumor – including stage, grade, PSA level, etc. – so these statistical averages should not be treated as literally predictive of what may in fact happen to you.

With widespread screening and earlier diagnosis, the prostate cancer timeline is getting longer. If just a few metastatic spots are found in the lymph nodes at the time of radical prostatectomy, average expectancy is over fifteen years. The goal of a treatment program is to cure the disease, but if it’s not curable, to control it for as long as possible, possibly even for the remainder of a patient’s natural life.

You Can Prevent Cancer and Other Diseases With Proper Diet and Lifestyle

Although most people and doctors shun the idea, the fact is cancer and other diseases are highly preventable with proper diet and lifestyle. Read the books in the Recommended Reading section, buy yourself a juicer (see some juicer reviews and juicer recipes here) and make fresh juice as often as you can, get a high-powered blender and make yourself green smoothies every day.

Contact Your Doctor

 If you are experiencing any symptoms that you worry about, it's best to contact a urology doctor, to find out for sure what's causing them. If you are in New York or New Jersey, you may contact this urologist in New York for a consultation.


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