Prostate Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Prostate cancer typically causes no symptoms in its early stages. As the prostate enlarges, however, a man may experience difficulty in starting to urinate, awakening during the night to urinate, and urinary urgency and frequency. These symptoms are indistinguishable from those of BPH, except that they may appear more abruptly when due to cancer.

A man with prostate cancer may experience erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) or a decrease in the firmness of erections if the cancer has invaded the nerves that control erections. In some men, the first symptoms of prostate cancer originate in areas of the body where the cancer has spread (severe back pain from cancer that has spread to the spine, for example).

Today, however, the diagnosis of prostate cancer at these advanced stages is unusual because of widespread screening for the disease.

Publication Review By: H. Ballentine Carter, M.D.

Published: 12 Apr 2011

Last Modified: 17 Feb 2015