The 5 Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer

A physician writes the words “Prostate Cancer” on a transparent panel.

The 5 Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer

As prostate cancer spreads, it eventually leads to symptoms. However, this condition generally does not have symptoms in its early stages.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains “Different people have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Most men do not have symptoms at all.” Additionally, symptoms that may indicate cancer of the prostate gland can also be caused by other conditions.

Recognizing the warning signs of prostate cancer can be helpful in certain situations. However, having symptoms generally means you already have prostate cancer that is more advanced. In this circumstance, the outcomes are less favorable than what is possible when screening identifies prostate cancer early on.

5-year relative prostate cancer survival rates are above 99% for men diagnosed with localized (i.e. early-stage) prostate cancer. The relative survival rate is significantly lower for advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

This makes prostate cancer screening, based on personal risk factors, especially important. There are generally no symptoms or clear signs of prostate cancer in its early stages. Screening can help to identify prostate cancer before it spreads.

Keep reading to learn more about the warning signs of prostate cancer and the value of screening.

A physician discusses test results with a patient.

There Are No Clear Early Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer

What are the 5 early warning signs of prostate cancer? The simplest answer is that, depending on the individual, there may be none at all. Prostate cancer does not normally show symptoms until the disease has progressed in the body.

There are sometimes indications that prostate cancer may have advanced. However, these symptoms are not a sure sign that prostate cancer has spread in the body.

Similar symptoms, particularly those related to urination, are seen with other conditions related to the prostate, the Prostate Cancer Foundation explains. Examples of these conditions include prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

As the Cleveland Clinic explains, some symptoms may also stem from more general changes associated with aging as opposed to a specific condition.

That said, the following symptoms could be associated with prostate cancer or another condition. If you experience these symptoms, consider speaking with a physician.

Possible Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer

  • Urinary symptoms, such as weak urination or the need to frequently or urgently urinate
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Bone pain
  • Painful ejaculation

While there aren’t any early signs of prostate cancer specifically, this disease does show potential symptoms as it progresses. However, identifying prostate cancer early on can lead to better outcomes. That brings us to the importance of prostate cancer screening based on personal risk factors.

Screening for Prostate Cancer

Screening can help to identify prostate cancer before possible symptoms emerge. Catching prostate cancer early, before it spreads, can improve survival rates.

It’s crucial to speak with a physician to determine a screening plan that takes your specific risk factors and personal health into account. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer risk factors include:

  • Familial history of prostate cancer
  • Age — prostate cancer becomes more common as men age
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Geography
  • Inherited gene changes, also called gene mutations

Approaches to Screening for Prostate Cancer

Traditional prostate cancer screening involves a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. If screening returns a positive result, the next step in the traditional process is a trans-rectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy.

This approach is systematic, but blind. A TRUS biopsy only has a 75% sensitivity to clinically significant prostate cancer. It also carries a 3-5% risk of infection.

Using a multiparametric MRI (mpMRI) can provide more clarity. An mpMRI has a better negative predictive value for prostate cancer as compared to a TRUS biopsy. Patients who receive a negative result from an mpMRI can be more confident that they do not have clinically significant prostate cancer. Additionally, mpMRIs offer valuable information that can help to inform decisions about treatment, such as staging the cancer.

Treating Prostate Cancer

There are a variety of treatment options for prostate cancer, from watchful waiting to whole gland treatment, such as a radical prostatectomy.

In localized prostate cancer cases where focal treatment is appropriate, both laser focal therapy (LFT) and transurethral ultrasound ablation (TULSA-PRO) are emerging as lower-risk, customizable options to treat prostate cancer.

Seeking treatment options for prostate cancer? Request a consultation today.

NOTE: The information provided on this website is general medical information and does not establish a physician-patient relationship. Please discuss your particular situation with a qualified medical professional.

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