Signs of prostate cancer may occur when the prostate gland, which helps the male reproductive system, begins to swell or the cancer starts to spread.
The early stage of the disease often occurs when the cancer cells are only in the prostate gland. The disease grows slowly in most men, which means a long-time survival rate after diagnosis of early prostate cancer, MedicineNet.com reports
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However, symptoms might not appear for some men until the cancer has spread, so here are nine early signs of prostate cancer:
Frequent urination, often at night
Weak urinary stream
Difficulty starting to urinate and stopping when it begins
Difficulty urinating when standing up
Leaking from coughing or laughing
A burning feeling when urinating
Blood in the urine or semen
Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs
These symptoms are caused by the blockage from the cancer growth, but also are indicative of other less serious problems such as a urinary tract infection or an enlarged prostate, which is not cancerous, according to WebMD
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An enlarged prostate, known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, causes similar symptoms because the growing gland might interfere with urinary function, says MedicineNet.com
. It can be treated with medication or sometimes surgery.
Although BPH is not life-threatening, prostate cancer is, so seeing a doctor when experiencing early signs of prostate cancer can determine the cause and get treatment started if necessary.
Additionally, there may not be early warning signs of prostate cancer for many patients, the Prostate Cancer Foundation notes
. The cancer is often spotted during routine checkups through a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test or digital rectal exam.
Men should discuss their risk and need for prostate cancer screening with their doctor. The chances of having prostate cancer increase after age 50, says Mayo Clinic
, and options for being tested can start as early as age 40 for those at risk for the disease, including African-Americans and men with a family history of prostate cancer before age 65.
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