Prostate cancer has no symptoms in its early stages. They develop after the cancer has traveled outside of the prostate. Tell your healthcare provider if you have any of the following problems:
- Frequent or urgent need to pass urine
- Waking up many times during the night to urinate.
- Difficulty starting or stopping the urine stream
- Not being able to urinate
- Weak urine flow
- Pain or a burning sensation during urination
- Blood in your urine or semen
- Pain in your lower back, hips, or upper thighs
- Difficulty having an erection
- Pain with ejaculation
Your healthcare provider can check for prostate cancer even if you don't have any symptoms. He or she will ask about your personal and family medical history, and perform a physical exam. In addition, the following tests will help to reveal anything abnormal, and help suggest the next steps to take:
- Digital rectal exam (DRE)—The prostate is checked for growths or enlargement.
- Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test—A simple blood test to measure the amount of PSA, which is a marker for tumors.
- Biopsy—Tissue samples are extracted from the prostate with a long needle by a specialist. They are tested for abnormal or cancerous cells. This is the only way to confirm a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer treatment depends on how serious the cancer is and how quickly it grows. There are four standard treatments:
- "Watchful waiting" is when a healthcare provider closely monitors a patient's cancer but does not treat it until symptoms appear or worsen.
- Radiation therapy uses powerful x-rays to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
- Hormone therapy blocks or eliminates male sex hormones to slow a prostate tumor's growth.
- Surgery is often recommended for prostate cancer patients in good health.