Prostate cancer

You are here: 

Symptoms of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer often does not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. Signs and symptoms often appear as the tumour grows and causes changes in bladder habits or other problems. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as prostate cancer.

The signs or symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • more frequent urination (called urinary frequency), especially at night
  • a strong or sudden urge to urinate (called urinary urgency)
  • trouble starting the flow of urine and straining to urinate
  • weak or slow urine stream
  • interrupted urine stream
  • being unable to empty the bladder completely
  • difficulty starting the urine stream (straining)
  • having difficulty controlling the bladder (called incontinence), which can cause urine to leak and dribble
  • blood in the urine
  • burning or pain during urination
  • blood in the semen
  • painful ejaculation
  • trouble getting an erection (called erectile dysfunction)
  • pain or stiffness in the bones of the hips, back or chest
  • weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • loss of bowel control
  • a cough that doesn’t go away or shortness of breath

In rare cases, prostate cancer can cause paraneoplastic syndrome. This is a group of symptoms including high blood pressure, fatigue and weight loss that may occur when substances released by cancer cells disrupt the normal function of nearby or distant organs or tissues.

In some cases, prostate cancer or its treatment can cause serious problems. These cancer-related emergencies need to be treated right away:

  • Kidney failure (called acute renal failure) can happen if the tumour blocks the ureters.
  • Spinal cord compression happens when a tumour presses on the spinal cord. It can lead to weakness in the legs or feet and a loss of bowel or bladder control. Treatment is given to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord.

semen

The fluid released from the penis during orgasm that contains sperm from the testicles and fluid from the prostate and seminal vesicles (a pair of pouch-like structures close to the prostate).

Stories

Researcher Dr David Malkin Dr David Malkin is boosting patient survival with screening.

Learn more

Cancer affects all Canadians

Icon - 1 in 2

Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

Learn more