Prostate cancer symptoms: The one sign of the deadly disease all men should look out for

A consultant urologist at The Princess Grace Hospital, Dr Qazi specialises in diseases of the male anatomy. Here, he speaks exclusively to about prostate cancer.

Quite frankly, he explains that by the time symptoms of prostate cancer occur, it’s “usually beyond the stage of a complete cure”.

However, there is hope as it can be “treated, nonetheless”, meaning people can still enjoy a high-quality life.

Dr Qazi begins to differentiate between “local symptoms” and “systemic symptoms”.

Local symptoms are “related to the presence of cancer, invading adjacent structures”, he explained.

Systemic symptoms, on the other hand, are “related to the cancer spreading across the body”.

The one sign all men should look out for – in terms of “local symptoms” – is “change in urination”.

This can include a weakened flow of urine, dribbling, or waking up at night to pass urine.

These signs occur when the cancerous tumour enlarges or deforms the prostate and the urethra that passes through it.

The prostate

Teach Me Anatomy declared the prostate as the “largest accessory gland in the male reproductive system”.

It secretes “proteolytic enzymes into the semen, which act to break down clotting factors in the ejaculate”.

This enables semen to remain in a fluid state – ideal for travelling through the female reproductive tract.

The prostate gland is positioned near the neck of the bladder, by the external urethral sphincter and the ampulla of the rectum.

Commonly described as the “size of a walnut”, physicians are able to detect abnormal lumps or hardened areas through a rectal examination.

Dr Qazi highlights other local symptoms of prostate cancer you’re encouraged to discuss with your GP (if it applies to you).

For instance, any blood mixed with semen to urine should be regarded as a warning sign.

This could be indicative that the cancer has invaded the urinary bladder or the urethra.

Another local symptom is “problems achieving or maintaining an erection”, adds Dr Qazi.

This suggests the cancerous tumour has invaded the “nerves near the prostate surface that supply the penis for erection”.

Systemic symptoms (i.e. cancer that has spread to other body parts) include “back pain or weakness of legs”.

This could be a sign that the cancer has “invaded the vertebral bones and the


Moreover, “like many cancers, unexplained weight loss is a sign of advanced prostate cancer”.

Diagnosis of prostate cancer will likely include a blood test and an “urgent referral to the hospital” for an MRI scan.

The first step with treating any type of cancer, including prostate cancer, is making your doctor aware of any symptoms you may be experiencing.

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