Hidden Dangers: Subtle Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

April 12, 2024
Hidden Dangers: Subtle Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

You might have heard the news: according to a recent study, by 2040, the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer worldwide is projected to double to 2.9 million a year, with annual deaths forecasted to rise by 85% during the same period. If prostate cancer wasn’t already a major cause of mortality and disability, it’s about to turn, as the data suggests, into a whole other beast. Thus, awareness is now more important than ever. 

While prostate cancer awareness efforts often focus on the typical symptoms such as urinary problems or erectile dysfunction, there are less obvious signs that can be crucial for early detection and treatment. Raising awareness about these lesser-known symptoms is vital in improving the chances of early diagnosis and successful outcomes.

Looking Out for the Subtleties

One of the less discussed symptoms of prostate cancer is changes in urinary habits. While frequent urination or difficulty urinating are commonly associated with prostate issues, other changes such as a weak or interrupted urine flow, dribbling after urination, or the need to strain to empty the bladder can also indicate prostate problems. These subtle changes in urinary patterns should not be ignored, especially in older men or those with a family history of prostate cancer.

Another less obvious symptom is discomfort in the pelvic area or lower back. Prostate cancer can sometimes cause pain or pressure in these regions due to the tumor pressing against nearby nerves or tissues. This discomfort may be mild and intermittent at first but can gradually worsen over time. Men experiencing persistent pelvic or back pain, especially in conjunction with other symptoms, should consult their healthcare provider.

In some cases, prostate cancer can manifest as erectile dysfunction or difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection. While this symptom is often attributed to other factors such as age or stress, it can also be a warning sign of underlying prostate issues. Additionally, changes in ejaculation such as decreased force or volume, or blood in semen (hematospermia), can sometimes be early indicators of prostate issues. Men experiencing such changes should consult a healthcare professional for evaluation.

Moreover, changes in bowel habits can also be indicative of prostate cancer. Constipation, diarrhea, or blood in the stool may occur if the cancer has spread to nearby organs such as the rectum. While these symptoms can be caused by various conditions, including benign ones, they should be investigated, especially in men at higher risk for prostate cancer.

Other subtle symptoms to look out for include: unexplained weight loss, bone pain, and fatigue and weakness. Unintended weight loss without changes in diet or exercise could be a red flag for several health conditions, including cancer. In prostate cancer, weight loss may occur due to metabolic changes associated with the disease. Though weight loss can have many causes, it's advisable not to ignore significant or unexplained changes in body weight. For bone pain, advanced prostate cancer can metastasize to the bones, leading to bone pain, especially in the spine, hips, or ribs. Persistent discomfort in these areas definitely warrants medical attention. Regarding persistent fatigue and weakness—these can result from various factors, including anemia or hormonal changes associated with cancer. Men experiencing unexplained tiredness or a significant decrease in energy levels should undergo thorough medical assessment to rule out underlying health issues, including prostate cancer.

Stay Vigilant 

Prostate cancer can present with a range of symptoms beyond the commonly known ones. Recognizing these less obvious signs is crucial for early detection and timely intervention. Men should be vigilant about their health and consult healthcare providers if they experience any persistent or concerning symptoms, even if they seem unrelated to prostate issues. Remember—early diagnosis significantly improves treatment outcomes and overall prognosis in prostate cancer cases. Regular health check-ups and open communication with healthcare professionals play a pivotal role in maintaining men's health and well-being.

Why Choose Us

BASS Cancer Center is home to a comprehensive team of healthcare professionals, including esteemed medical and radiation oncologists, social workers, care coordinators, financial counselors, and patient education experts. At our facility, we harness state-of-the-art PET/CT imaging technology, exemplified by the Biograph 6, alongside the latest therapeutic innovations. Among these advancements is our pioneering MRI-guided treatment system, MRIdian, a non-invasive radiation therapy system that enables simultaneous imaging and treatment, optimizing dose delivery while minimizing radiation exposure to healthy tissue. Additionally, we utilize the Elekta Versa HD, a cutting-edge technology for imaging and motion management during radiation therapy.

For individuals who may be experiencing subtle signs of prostate cancer, entrust the expertise of professionals at BASS Cancer Center. Contact us today to arrange a consultation and screening, and discover how we can support you.