Prostate cancer symptoms: The warning signs to watch out for when you go to the toilet

Prostate cancer symptoms usually don’t show until the cancer has grown large enough to put pressure on the urethra – the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the penis. Symptoms may be caused by another condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or prostate enlargement, which is non-cancerous. But the only way to find this out is to go see a GP. Many of the symptoms of prostate cancer may become apparent when a man goes to the toilet – Macmillan Cancer Support lists five symptoms to look out for.

Many of the symptoms of prostate cancer may become apparent when a man goes to the toilet

These symptoms include:

  • Difficulty peeing – for example, a weak flow or having to strain to start peeing
  • Needing to pee more often than usual, specially at night
  • Feeling like you have not completely emptied your bladder after peeing
  • An urgent need to pee
  • Blood in the pee or semen

In rare cases, someone with prostate cancer may experience pain when peeing or ejaculating.

How to test for prostate cancer

If you have symptoms of prostate cancer, your GP may ask about them and examine you.

They may also recommend having a prostate-specific antigen test, also known as the PSA test.

Bupa explains what this is: “PSA is a protein that can be made by both normal and cancerous cells.

“A raised PSA level doesn’t always mean you have cancer, as PSA tends to increase naturally as you get older.”

Men over 50 can ask for a PSA test from a GP, even if they don’t have any symptoms.

But men are not routinely offered PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer as results can be unreliable.

Your GP may also recommend a digital rectal examination, during which your doctor will check the size, shape and feel of your prostate through the wall of the rectum.

In some instances you may be required to have an MRI scan out a biopsy.

How to treat prostate cancer

Treatment for prostate cancer will depend on an individual’s circumstances, advises the NHS.

For many men with prostate cancer, no treatment will be necessary.

The health body explains: “When treatment is necessary, the aim is to cure or control the disease so it affects everyday life as little as possible and does not shorten life expectancy.

“Sometimes, if the cancer has already spread, the aim is not to cure it but to prolong life and delay symptoms.”

Advanced prostate cancer can trigger other symptoms in different parts of the body. 

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