Knowing what the 5 warning signs of prostate cancer are can help with early detection for patients.
Prostate cancer occurs when malignant cells form in the prostate tissue. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system located beneath the bladder. In 2019, there were more than 170,000 new cases of prostate cancer. It is one of the most common cancer types seen in males in the United States. The average age at diagnosis is 66. Prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 40.
What are the 5 Warning Signs of Prostate Cancer?
5 common warning signs of prostate cancer include:
- Slow or weak stream when urinating
- Blood in urine or semen
- Weakness in the feet or legs
- Difficulty achieving an erection
- Frequent urination at night
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see your doctor for further examination. It is important to remember that other noncancerous conditions involving the prostate can also cause these symptoms.
Diagnosing Prostate Cancer
If any of the 5 warning signs of prostate cancer are experienced, you should visit your doctor to rule out any other causes of symptoms. If symptoms related to prostate cancer are experienced, the doctor will perform an initial test to measure the level of your Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein made by prostate gland cells. PSA can be found in both the urine and semen. The more PSA a man has, the higher the likelihood they have cancer of the prostate. During a PSA test, a sample of blood is taken and sent to a laboratory to determine the levels of PSA present. If the results show 4 nanograms per milliliter or greater are present, additional testing will need to be performed to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer.
If someone’s PSA level is 10 nanograms per milliliter or more, it is considered a 50% chance of having prostate cancer. The doctor will either perform a prostate biopsy to confirm the diagnosis or perform additional testing such as a digital rectum examination (DRE), where the prostate gland is felt for any abnormalities. If the diagnosis is still unsure, imaging tests can be used to evaluate the prostate, such as an MRI or ultrasound.