Prostate Cancer Symptoms & Signs
Prostate cancer rarely shows any symptoms and signs in its earliest stages, so it’s critical to know what to look for and when to see your doctor.
- Decreased urine flow
- A felling of not fully emptying your bladder
- Needing to get up often during the night to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Swelling of the penis, scrotum, legs and feet
- Difficulty getting an erection
- Pain in the hips, thighs and lower back
Many diseases of the male urinary tract also show similar symptoms though, so if you’re experiencing any of them, it is important to see your doctor.
Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
Prostate cancer is diagnosed using a combination of the results of the following:
- PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)
- DRE (Digital Rectal Exam)
- Prostate Biopsy
A urologist will do a prostate biopsy after an abnormal PSA or DRE. The biopsy procedure is done in the doctors office, using a local (at the site where the samples will be taken from the prostate) anesthetic. The tissue samples taken from the prostate give the doctor more information on how the prostate cells look, and if they cancerous. The biopsy takes about 20 minutes, and the urologist usually takes 10-12 tissue samples.
Before the procedure, you will be given:
- An enema – Youwill need to use one enema the morning of the procedure, to clean out your bowel.)
- An antibiotic – You will take one dose the night before the procedure, and one the morning of the procedure, to help prevent infection.
The doctor then uses an ultrasound probe, inserted into the rectum, to guide the biopsy needle and remove the tissue samples. The biopsy is usually not painful because the rectum does not have any pain fibers. At most, you may feel some pinching when the samples are taken. The local anesthetic used will help make you comfortable during the procedure.
Risks of this procedure include:
- Blood in the urine, semen, or stool.
Results of the biopsies are usually back in a week to ten days. Your doctor will call you with the results.
If your biopsies are positive for prostate cancer your doctor may order additional tests to see if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. These tests may include CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis, and a bone scan to check for metastasis (spread) of the cancer into the bones.