“A simple rectal exam which takes less than a minute and a yearly PSA blood test starting at age 40 are good screening tools urologists use to detect any changes in the prostate gland,” writes Dr David Samadi, chairman of Urology and chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. But in recent years, to avoid certain downsides, it is recommended that men speak to doctors carefully when considering a screening.
While the cancer is easily treatable if detected and diagnosed in early stages, experts note that symptoms (namely the following) of the disease tend to occur later.
Bladder control problems
Losing control over your bladder (known as urinary incontinence) can be a sign of problems with the prostate. Cancer can lead to enlargement and weakening of the prostate, which in turn can block the urethra.
The process of eliminating urine from the body becomes more difficult and more erratic, as a result. Some signs include strain, leakage, a decrease in force, an overactive bladder, and the feeling of incomplete urination.
Pain in the pelvic area
Shooting pain in the pelvic area which feels like a sharp stab should be checked out – this could be a sign of neuropathic pain i.e. when the nerves are being attacked by cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, pain or tightness occurring in areas like the hips, lower back, and chest could indicate that the cancer is spreading to the bones.
Feeling numbness in the legs or feet, it notes, might be a result of the cancer pressing on the spinal cord. But in most cases, body pain alone is not a cause for concern. The possibility of the symptom being linked to prostate cancer is relatively rare, especially compared to other causes like poor posture.
Blood in semen, urine
If you spot blood when urinating or ejaculating, known as haematuria and haematospermia respectively, it is important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible, says James Wysock, M.D., a urologic oncologist and assistant professor of urology at New York University Langone Health.
It need not be excessive as even a pinkish tint could be an early sign of a problem. If not prostate cancer, it may have been caused by a urinary tract infection, kidney stones, a sexually transmitted disease, blood clotting, or inflammation.