In most cases, prostate cancer symptoms are not apparent in the early stages. Symptoms of prostate cancer may be different for each person, and any one of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions. As a result, routine screenings are recommended in the form of digital rectal exams and prostate-specific androgen (PSA) tests.
Early Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer
Due to the proximity of the prostate gland to the bladder and urethra, prostate cancer is typically accompanied by a variety of urinary symptoms, especially in the early stages. Depending on the size and location, a tumor may press on and constrict one’s urethra, inhibiting the flow of urine. Some early prostate cancer signs include:
- Burning or pain during urination
- Loss of bladder control
- Difficulty urinating, or trouble starting & stopping urination
- Frequent urges to urinate at night
- Decreased flow or velocity of the urine stream
- Blood in seme
- Blood in urine (hematuria)
- Difficulty getting an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Painful ejaculation
Prostate cancer may spread and form tumors in nearby organs or bones. If the cancer spreads to the spine, it may press on the spinal nerves. Signs of metastatic prostate cancer may include:
- Swelling in legs or pelvic area
- Numbness or pain in the hips, legs or feet
- Bone pain that doesn’t go away, or leads to fractures
Symptoms of prostate cancer often differ from patient to patient. The most common first sign of recurrent prostate cancer is a rise in the PSA level in the blood, making regular PSA tests all the more important in measuring the progress of treatment and checking for signs of recurrence. It is important to report new signs or symptoms to your doctor.
The Prostate Specific Antigen Test
A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of the PSA in the blood. The prostate gland produces PSA. PSA is a protein that at elevated levels can be a sign of prostate cancer. A high PSA reading may also indicate noncancerous conditions such as inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis) and enlargement of the prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia). Both of these issues we at Z Urology are experienced to deal with.
In the past, a PSA reading of 4 ng/mL and below was considered normal. Men with a reading above 4 ng/mL were considered likely to have prostate cancer and would have a biopsy to confirm the cancer’s presence.
According to the National Cancer Institute, research has found that men with prostate cancer can test with a low PSA level, while men without prostate cancer can test at high levels. Only one in four men with an elevated PSA level actually has prostate cancer. However, an increase in PSA level over time may indicate a prostate tumor and should be monitored closely.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their doctor about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. Typically the first test is around age 50. Men with one or more risk factors for prostate cancer should consult with their physician about whether to start routine screening earlier.
Understanding when symptoms are a sign of something serious and either diagnosing the disease or confirming a previous diagnosis require expertise from specialists trained and experienced in treating prostate cancer.
We are Z Urology. We provide state-of-the-art urologic care in the South Florida area with a focus on both male and female urology. Our practice specializes in all urologic procedures, specifically, minimally invasive methods. Our three locations to choose from are located in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs and Pompano Beach.
We at “Z” specialize in bladder issues, erectile dysfunction (ED), prostate issues, urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, stone disease, male infertility, pyeloplasty, Peyronie’s disease, and ureteral reimplantation.