What Are The 5 Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer?

One in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. Knowing what the warning signs of prostate cancer are may help to detect the condition and means you can seek treatment as quickly as possible if you need it.

This guide covers the five main potential warning signs of prostate cancer to look out for, what you should do if you have symptoms, and how to get tested.

The 5 warning signs of prostate cancer

There are a number of symptoms associated with prostate cancer. Spotting them early may mean the disease can be more successfully managed or treated.

The majority of prostate cancer symptoms are also associated with other health problems that affect the bladder and urinating, so it’s important to be able to identify them and seek expert medical advice as soon as you do.

The five main warning signs of prostate cancer to look out for are:

  • Blood in your urine or semen
  • Frequent urination
  • Painful urination or difficulty urinating
  • Sudden erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Bone pain

Someone with prostate cancer may not experience all of these symptoms — they may experience just one or two, or in some cases, none at all. This is why all men over 40 and in high-risk categories should have regular testing to reduce their risk of late diagnosis.

Blood in urine and semen

One of the key symptoms of prostate cancer is noticing blood in your urine or semen. If you experience this symptom, it’s important to be investigated for prostate cancer as soon as possible.

If this symptom is in fact caused by prostate cancer, it is because a tumour in the prostate has grown to a size where it has begun to press on the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body), or on other glands or blood vessels in the surrounding area. This pressure causes these structures to become blocked or irritated, resulting in blood appearing in your urine or semen.

Frequent urination

Prostate cancer can make you need to pass urine more often than you would usually, especially during the night.

If you experience this symptom, you may also find that you need to rush to the toilet to urinate urgently. You might also feel that your bladder hasn’t fully emptied so may have the urge to urinate again straight after you’ve finished.

The reason this happens is that when prostate cancer gets larger, it puts pressure on your urinary system — particularly the urethra and bladder. This can make you feel like you need to urinate more often, even when there’s only a small amount of urine in your bladder.

Painful urination or difficulty urinating

As well as needing to urinate more frequently, you may find urinating more difficult.

You might notice that you strain while you urinate, that it takes longer than usual to start urinating (hesitancy) or that the flow is weakened. This can also be accompanied by pain or a burning sensation while urinating.

In cases of prostate cancer, difficulties with urinating are caused by a tumour on the prostate growing to a size where it presses on the urethra, blocking the flow of urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Sudden erectile dysfunction (ED)

Sudden erectile dysfunction is a symptom of prostate cancer that usually occurs when the cancer has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body.

Erectile dysfunction can happen if a cancerous tumour has grown very large or if cancer has spread to the male reproductive organs and is impacting the blood supply and nerves to the penis.

There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, from age to physical health and mental health, so it can be hard to determine whether it's associated with the prostate or not. This is especially true as the risk of prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction both increase with age. As this is the case, it's important to get checked as soon as possible.

Bone pain

If prostate cancer has metastasised (spread to other areas of the body), you may experience pain in your bones, often in the back, pelvis and hips. When cancer cells spread to the bone, they disrupt the balance of normal cellular activity in the bone's structure, causing damage to the bone tissue, which can cause pain.

Other warning signs of prostate cancer

In addition to the five warning signs explained above, other signs and symptoms of prostate cancer to look out for include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Testicular pain
  • Back pain
  • A change in bowel habits
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in your legs or feet
  • Fatigue
  • Discomfort or pain when sitting

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your GP. They will help you to establish whether your symptoms are being caused by prostate cancer or something else, and suggest a treatment plan where necessary.

What should I do if I have prostate cancer symptoms?

If you notice you have any of the symptoms talked about in this article, it’s important to contact your doctor. Make sure you have a PSA blood test as soon as possible, either with your health care professional or by testing yourself using a kit like Check4Cancer’s at-home PSACheck.

Like any cancer, prostate cancer is more likely to be treated successfully when diagnosed at an early stage. In cases where symptoms aren’t caused by cancer, testing can still be useful in ruling it out so that your doctor can identify what is causing the problem, and quickly address and treat it.

The symptoms we’ve mentioned above do not always mean you have prostate cancer. Many men's prostates get larger as they get older, causing similar symptoms and problems urinating. This is due to a condition called benign prostate enlargement (BPE).

Order your prostate cancer test kit

Men with prostate cancer often have no symptoms unless the disease is detected at a late stage. That’s why we recommend testing to all men over the age of 40, and to anyone in a high-risk category.

Check4Cancer offers PSACheck — a safe, accurate and affordable private prostate cancer screening test with rapid results.

This simple at-home test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in your blood through finger-prick blood testing. Our team of specialists then analyse your PSA test results and risk factors to determine what the next stage is for you.

PSACheck at-home cancer screening includes Free and Total PSA for men aged 40 and over.

Check for prostate cancer by ordering a Check4Cancer PSACheck today.