Prostate Cancer Signs & Symptoms

If you develop abnormal, cancerous cells within the tissues of your prostate gland, you can be diagnosed with prostate cancer. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting men within the United States. Estimates provided by the National Cancer Institute indicate that more than 180,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. Contact your doctor for evaluation and care if you develop any signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.

Difficulty Urinating

The most common symptom of prostate cancer is difficulty urinating. The prostate is located underneath the bladder and surrounds a portion of the urethra, a small tube that carries urine from the bladder out of your body. When the prostate becomes enlarged because of cancerous cell growth, the urethra can be pinched, which can lead to urinary problems. You can experience increased urinary frequency–most noticeably at night, warn health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can be difficult to begin urinating, even if you have a full bladder. You may experience a weak flow of urine when you urinate, which can prevent you from fully emptying your bladder. Certain men with prostate cancer experience sensations of burning or pain while urinating that can be accompanied by blood in the urine (hematuria).

Back or Pelvic Pain

If you have prostate cancer, you can experience pain within your lower back, pelvis, hips or legs, explains the NCI. These painful symptoms can be mild to moderately severe and typically worsen or become more frequent as the cancer continues to grow. Certain men can also develop abnormal swelling of the legs, which can contribute to sensations of pain or discomfort, warn doctors at The Mayo Clinic.

Erection Difficulties

You can experience difficulty having an erection if you have prostate cancer. Certain men experience painful sensations during ejaculation and can notice the appearance of small amounts of blood within the ejaculate (semen). These symptoms of prostate cancer can make sexual intercourse uncomfortable and may lead to a temporary decrease in your sexual drive or desire.

About this Author

Rachel R. Ahmed, M.S., is a freelance writer and editor based in San Diego. Ahmed received her M.S. degree in integrated biomedical sciences and has been working as a freelance writer and editor for more than five years. Some of her freelance clients include The Burroughs Wellcome Fund,,, L3 Communications, and ThinkTank Learning.