Among the men, prostatic cancer is one of the deadliest. Every year millions of men lose their life to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer presents with minimal signs and symptoms, which is why it is mostly diagnosed when it is quite late. Men should get regular checkups from their healthcare provider and Andrologist in Lahore and pay attention to the warning signs of prostate cancer.
5 warning signs of prostatic cancer
- Difficulty in urination
Prostate is the organ that sits just below the urinary bladder in men, and part of the urethra crosses through the prostate. Any growth in the prostate, be it benign or malignant, produces urinary symptoms and in fact these symptoms much be watched for in suspected prostatic disease. Because of the impingement of tumor on the bladder, patient can complain of difficulty in initiation of urine stream or difficulty in stopping it. Similarly, patient can also complain of difficulty in maintaining the stream of urine, despite the urge to micturate.
Although less common, pain on micturition—known as dysuria, can also be a warning symptom of prostate disease. These symptoms are less common in the young men and frequently seen in older individuals. Dysuria is a symptom of many other illnesses, which is why proper checkup is mandatory.
- Frequent urination in the night
As mentioned before, urinary symptoms are common manifestation of prostatic disease. One of the urinary symptoms seen in prostatic disease is sudden increase in the frequency of urination. Such patients often complain of getting up multiple times at night to urinate and feel incomplete emptying of bladder.
When the prostate enlarges due to cancerous growth, it presses on the bladder, causing the urge to urinate as well as the feeling of incomplete emptying of bladder. The enlargement of prostate can also impinge on the nerves, causing pain and frequent urge to urinate.
- Blood in the serum or urine
Prostate is the gland responsible for the production of semen, and blood in the semen is big indicator of prostatic cancer. The tumor can cause angiogenesis—or production of new blood vessels, and the rupture of these vessels lead to blood in the semen. Other causes of blood in the semen include: inflammation of the testicles, and sexually transmitted infections.
Blood can also appear in the urine, secondary to prostatic cancer; this is known as gross hematuria. Hematuria is a painless condition, which can be a sign of other diseases as well—including urinary tract infection, bladder infection, kidney stones and kidney diseases. In combination with other prostatic symptoms, hematuria cannot be ignored and warrants a complete checkup and prostatic biopsy.
- Body and bone aches
When prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it causes severe bone pain and generalized body aches. Men generally complain of pain in the region of the prostate, especially when sitting, swelling in the back, hip or lower body, abnormal bowel habits, and unexplained weight loss.
In advanced disease, the cancer spreads to the bones and lymph nodes. This presents as numbness in the legs, feet and hips. Bone involvement leads to persistent pain and increased chances of bone fractures. Prostatic cancer spreads commonly to the spinal cord, and ascent of the cancer manifests as back pain, rib (chest) pain and loss of bowel and bladder control due to impingement of nerves.
- Sudden erectile dysfunction
In the presence of other aforementioned symptoms, sudden erectile dysfunction is an alarming symptom for prostatic cancer. Erectile dysfunction refers to the inability of men to get an erection for sexual activity. Apart from erectile dysfunction, painful ejaculation is also a warning symptom of prostate cancer. These symptoms appear when the tumor enlarges to involve the nerves.
For anyone with onset of sudden erectile dysfunction, the healthcare provider will take thorough medical and pharmacological history, and perform a physical examination, including digital rectal exam (DRE) to assess the size and shape of prostate. Additionally, investigations like serum PSA—prostate-specific antigen help to rule in or rule out prostate cancer. The PSA levels rise in prostate cancer, and remain normal in benign prostatic hyperplasia.
Many other illnesses—including heart disease, hypertension and stress can cause erectile dysfunction, which is why prostatic involvement must be ruled out after complete checkup from Andrologist in Karachi.