If you’ve recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you may be asking yourself if there were warning signs or symptoms you should have noticed earlier.

So what are the warning signs of prostate cancer?

Unfortunately, there usually aren’t any early warning signs for prostate cancer. The growing tumor does not push against anything to cause pain, so for many years the disease may be silent. That’s why screening for prostate cancer is such an important topic for all men and their families.

In rare cases, prostate cancer can cause symptoms so you need to be aware of what they are:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night, some- times urgently
  • Difficulty starting or holding back urination
  • Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty in having an erection
  • A decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pressure or pain in the rectum
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs

Remember: urinary symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have cancer. Prostatitis or BPH (Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, also known as enlargement of the prostate) are benign diseases but can cause similar symptoms and are very common.

What about difficulty in having an erection? Again, this is most likely not caused by cancer but by other factors such as diabetes, smoking, cardiovascular disease, or just plain getting older.

That said: Symptoms are symptoms, and no matter what’s most likely to be causing them, you should get them checked out by a doctor.

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Terms to know from this article:

Tumor

A mass of excess tissue that results from abnormal cell division. Tumors perform no useful body function. They may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

Benign

Not cancerous. Benign tumors do not spread to tissues around them or to other parts of the body.

Prostatic

Of or pertaining to the prostate gland.

Hypertrophy

The enlargement or overgrowth of an organ or part due to an increase in size of its constituent cells. Compare to hyperplasia; see benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

BPH

see benign prostatic hyperplasia

Finasteride

A drug used to reduce the amount of male hormone (testosterone) produced by the body.

Biopsy

The removal of cells or tissues for examination under a microscope. When only a sample of tissue is removed, the procedure is called an incisional biopsy or core biopsy. When an entire lump or suspicious area is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. When a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle, the procedure is called a needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration.

Progression

Increase in the size of a tumor or spread of cancer in the body.

Screening

Checking for disease when there are no symptoms.

PSA

prostate-specific antigen (PSA): A substance produced by the prostate that may be found in an increased amount in the blood of men who have prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or infection or inflammation of the prostate.