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November 17, 2015
Prostate Cancer: Signs, Symptoms and Screenings
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Prostate Cancer: Signs, Symptoms and Screenings

The second most common cancer in men in the United States (after skin cancer), prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in men. An estimated 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2015, representing 13.3 percent of all new cancer cases.

Signs and Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate Signs

In its early stage, prostate cancer often has no signs, although common symptoms with advanced prostate cancer do appear. These include:

  • Weak or interrupted (“stop-and-go”) flow of urine
  • Sudden urge to urinate
  • Frequent urination (especially at night)
  • Trouble starting the flow of urine
  • Trouble emptying the bladder completely
  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • A pain in the back, hips or pelvis that doesn’t go away
  • Shortness of breath, feeling very tired, fast heartbeat, dizziness or pale skin caused by anemia

The same symptoms may be connected to other conditions, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.

Screening for Prostate Cancer

While there are no standard or routine screening tests for prostate cancer, various types of prostate cancer screenings are currently being studied, including:

  • Digital rectal exam (DRE) – an internal physical examination of the prostate performed by inserting a lubricated glove finger into the rectum
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test – a blood test measuring the level of PSA in the A higher level may indicate prostate cancer, an infection or inflammation of the prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
  • Prostate cancer gene 3 (PCA3) test –  a test measuring the amount of PCA3 present in the urine Ð the higher the level, the more likely that prostate cancer is present.
  • TMPRSS2:ERG –  a urine test that looks for an abnormal gene change in prostate cells collected after a DRE that are found in 50 percent of all localized prostate cancers, but rarely when prostate cancer is not present

The age at which men should discuss with their healthcare providers the need for screening tests is based on an individual’s risk level for developing prostate cancer:

  • Average risk – men with no prostate cancer in their immediate family. Discuss screening at age 50.
  • High risk – African Americans or those with a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65. Discuss screening at age 45.
  • Very high risk –  those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer before age 65. Discuss screening at age 40.


National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Fighting Cancer Togethe r

American Cancer Society

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