Prostate Cancer--Top 10 Signs That You
Have It
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Last updated June 4, 2017, originally published March 27, 2010

By Rory McClenaghnan, Contributing Columnist

There is a reason why prostate cancer is known as the silent killer. The
second most common cancer in men in the United States (according to
the National Cancer Institute), can also be symptom-less. Creeping up
on its victims, who do not know they have it until it is too late, prostate
cancer kills over 26,000 of the 2.9 million men who have the cancer
each year in the United States. But all is not lost. There are signs that
show you may have prostate cancer. A trip to your physician will let
you know for sure.

The prostate gland sits between the bladder and penis in a man's body.
Its main function is to produce semen. No one knows for sure what
causes prostate cancer although there are risk factors. The good news
for sufferers is that it progresses very slowly. It may be 15 years
before the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, a much slower
rate than is seen with most cancers.

But as ever, the earlier it is spotted, the better the chances for a
successful treatment. The biggest risk factor is age, so as well as being
aware of the signs below, men over the age of 50 should take a yearly
protein-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and rectal exam (as
recommended by UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center).

Here are the Top 10 signs that you have prostate cancer, based on
medical research:

Going bald early – An Australian study in 2002 (Androgenetic
Alopecia and Prostate Cancer) found a link between vertex baldness
and prostate cancer. Vertex baldness is a bald spot on the top of the
head, as opposed to a receding hairline.

The study compared 1,446 men diagnosed with prostate cancer before
the age of 70 and 1,390 men of the same age without cancer.

It found that men with vertex baldness were one-and-a-half times
more likely to have prostate cancer. A 2010 study by the University of
Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center contradicted
these results. However,  the second study was limited and relied heavily
on the patients being able to remember when they started to go bald.
(Read more about how your
diet affects  male pattern baldness.)

Urinary problems – This is the most common sign of prostate cancer.
As confirmed by the National Cancer Institute, an
enlarged prostate (a
symptom of prostate cancer) puts pressure on the urethra which
transports urine from the bladder to the penis. This hinders the flow of
urine, making it hard for sufferers to maintain a steady stream and
meaning they need to urinate often. Another less common urinary
symptom is blood in the urine, with the urine appearing a pinkish or
brown color.

Erectile Dysfunction – inability to get or maintain an erection can also
be a sign of prostate cancer and is also a common side effect of a
number of treatments for the disease. A study by the Department of
Urology, University of Michigan in 2003 (Prostate carcinoma
presentation, diagnosis, and staging) backs this up.

Bone pain – metastatic, or secondary prostate cancer is when the
cancer spreads to other parts of the body. A study published in Human
Pathology in 2000 (Metastatic patterns of prostate cancer: an autopsy
study of 1,589 patients) found that in 90% of cases of metastatic
prostate cancer, the cancer spread to the bone. This causes a dull and
constant pain in the bone that gets worse with time.

Leg weakness – If you feel unsteady on your feet and your legs feel
hollow and empty, there is a chance prostate cancer could be the
cause. When prostate cancer spreads to the bones it can cause spinal
cord compression (Neurological complications of prostate cancer,
Benjamin R. 2002). This compression damages the nerves which lead
to the leg, meaning sufferers feel less sensation in their legs. (Read
more about
why your legs ache and remedies that help.)

Loss of appetite – as Oliver Sartor, M.D pointed out in his 2005 paper
“Hormone-Refractory Prostate Cancer: A Continuum of Diseases and
Options”, a loss of appetite and accompanying tiredness is another sign
of prostate cancer. It stems from anaemia, which sufferers can contract
if the cancer spreads.

Jaundice – the classic symptom of jaundice is a yellow color to your
skin. If the prostate cancer has spread to your liver, it may have
triggered jaundice. A study by the Department of Internal Medicine,
Serres General Hospital, Greece, in 2003 (Cholestatic jaundice as a
paraneoplastic manifestation of prostate adenocarcinoma) examines
the links between jaundice and prostate cancer.

Infertility – a 2010 study found infertile men almost three times
more likely to get aggressive prostate cancer. The study by the
University of California, San Francisco (Increased risk of high-grade
prostate cancer among infertile men), tracked 22,256 men in California.

Leg swelling – or lymphedema is a sign of prostate cancer according
to Patricia O'Brien, MD's 2007 paper, “Lymphedema”. The swelling is
caused by the build up of lymph fluid in tissues. It can also affect the
genitals.  (Read more about
ankle swelling and leg swelling in men.)

Blood in your semen – also known as hematospermia is not only a
worrying discovery but may be evidence of prostate cancer, as
mentioned by Jonathan D Schiff, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of
Urology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in his paper,
“Hematospermia”. It is normal for trace amounts of blood to be found
in semen, but if your discharge has a noticeable pink tinge to it, you
should see your physician. (Read more about the
causes of blood in
semen and what you can do about it.)


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