Prostate cancer is uncommon in men under 40 and most commonly detected when a man is in his mid-60s. Because prostate cancer is typically slow-growing, there may not be many physical signs pointing to prostate cancer. Most often a routine prostate cancer screening blood test, the PSA test, will detect the start of prostate cancer before the patient notices changes in his body.
However, if you notice any of the following symptoms you should speak with your physician. These could be signs of prostate cancer or other non-cancerous prostate conditions.
- Sudden urge to urinate
- Frequent need to urinate, especially at night
- Difficulty starting urination and/or straining to empty bladder
- Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
- Blood in the urine or in semen
- Pain in the back, hips or pelvis that doesn’t go away
- Recent trouble getting an erection (erectile dysfunction or ED)
- Painful ejaculation
Urination issues could be related to benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), which is a common condition that is the non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. ED issues could be related to factors such as smoking, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or simply getting older.
To be safe, you should always speak to a doctor if you’re experiencing these signs so that a screening test can be done.
Regular screenings, about once a year for men over age 50 if there is no family history of prostate cancer, can help your doctor diagnose prostate cancer earlier which means a better chance of a positive outcome. The American Cancer Society suggests annual screenings starting at age 50, but when you begin being screened for prostate cancer will depend on your family history, medical history, and risk factors. Together, you can decide what would be best for you.