What Does Prostate Cancer Do to You?

Last Editorial Review: 10/3/2017

Ask the experts

I just got diagnosed with prostate cancer and I'm nervous about the potential pain and surgery I may face. What does prostate cancer do to you?

Doctor's response

A patient with early prostate cancer may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • A frequent or excessive need to urinate, during the day and/or at night
  • Difficulty in starting, maintaining, or stopping the urine stream
  • A weak or interrupted urine stream
  • Straining to urinate
  • Inability to urinate (urinary retention)
  • Loss of control of urination that may be associated with coughing or laughing, a sudden urge to urinate, or without any forewarning
  • Difficulty urinating when standing, requiring sitting during urination
  • Pain with urination or ejaculation
  • Blood in the urine or in the semen
  • Abnormal rectal examination

Many symptoms of early cancer of the prostate can also be attributed to benign (noncancerous) conditions of the prostate including benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), or infection in the prostate gland or urinary system.

Signs and symptoms of advanced prostate cancer that has already spread from the prostate gland to elsewhere in the body (called metastatic prostate cancer) include:

It is always best to find and diagnose prostate cancer at an early stage and hopefully still confined to its site of origin. At that point treatments can cure it. When prostate cancer is widespread or metastatic it can be treated, but it cannot be cured.

For more information, read our full medical article about prostate cancer signs, symptoms, and treatment.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

American Cancer Society (ACS). <http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/index>.

Byrd, E.S., et al. AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, 7th Ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2009.

The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute. Johns Hopkins Medicine.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

"Prostate Cancer." Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.