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There are no obvious signs or symptoms of prostate cancer in its beginning stages. Many early stage prostate cancers are detected only through a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing.

When the tumor becomes larger, symptoms may appear. They may include:

  • Frequent urination, including the need to get up often during the night to urinate
  • Hesitancy in starting the flow of urine or inability to urinate—urinary retention
  • Loss of force of the stream of urine
  • Pain or discomfort while urinating
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Pain with ejaculation
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Back pain or bone pain that is new and unexplained by recent injury or increased activity
  • Urinary and/or fecal incontinence

These symptoms can also be caused by other, less serious conditions and do not necessarily mean that you have prostate cancer. It is important, however, to see your doctor if you are having any of these symptoms.


Prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed October 2, 2015.

Prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated September 2, 2015. Accessed October 2, 2015.

Prostate cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated November 2013. Accessed October 2, 2015.

Last reviewed September 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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