Cancer Symptoms: Top 14 Early Signs To Look Out For
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Cancer can manifest in a plethora of ways, but some signs are reported in almost all cases. The majority of patients can expect some degree of weight loss, pain and fatigue. The issue with these signs, however, is that they are non-specific, meaning they easily be confused for other ailments. In order to help recognise them, health bodies have broken down several characteristics that set cancer-related fatigue apart from everyday tiredness.
The Reason For Movember And Helping Men Understand The Signs Of Prostate Cancer
WAUSAU, Wis. – November is National Mens Health Awareness Month and with it comes various efforts to create a defense for mens health, like Movember and No-Shave November. This month specifically raises awareness and support of those facing prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues. Researchers say men are 24% less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. But visits to the doc can help screen for health issues can may turn more serious.
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news is it has one of the highest survival rates of any type of cancer due to the slow speed in which it grows and spreads, as well as early detection.
Dr. Brad Leibovich is a urologist at the Mayo Clinic. He said early detection is the best defense.
So men can have urinary symptoms. They can have pain erectile dysfunction. But these are late occurrences and we like to find prostate cancer early. When we find prostate cancer early, it is typically asymptomatic. And thats why we like to screen for prostate cancer. And if we find it early, it greatly diminishes the chances that prostate cancer will threaten a mans life and it minimizes or eliminates the negative impacts on the quality of life from cancer and the treatment.
There are ways to reduce your risk of prostate cancer. He said it starts with a healthy diet.
Metastatic Prostate Cancer Treatment
Treatments for metastatic prostate cancer may depend on where in the body the disease has spread. Options include:
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Psa Levels In Metastatic Prostate Cancer
As part of your ongoing treatment, your care team will regularly test your PSA levels. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen, which can be high in men who have prostate cancer. PSA tests are used not only for the initial cancer diagnosis but also to observe the advancement of the disease over time.
Generally, PSA levels are higher in men with metastatic prostate cancer. However, in rare cases, its possible to have a low PSA even if you have metastatic disease. For these patients, disease progression is better measured in other ways, such as through imaging tests and biomarker tools.
So What Are The Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer
Unfortunately, there usually arent any early warning signs for prostate cancer. The growing tumor does not push against anything to cause pain, so for many years the disease may be silent. Thats why screening for prostate cancer is such an important topic for all men and their families.
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In rare cases, prostate cancer can cause symptoms. Contact your doctor for an evaluation if you experience any of the following:
- A need to urinate frequently, especially at night, some- times urgently
- Difficulty starting or holding back urination
- Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty in having an erection
- A decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated
- Pressure or pain in the rectum
- Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs
What about difficulty in having an erection? Again, this is most likely not caused by cancer but by other factors such as diabetes, smoking, cardiovascular disease, or just plain getting older.
That said: Symptoms are symptoms, and no matter whats most likely to be causing them, you should get them checked out by a doctor.
Download or order your free copy of the Prostate Cancer Patient Guide now with COVID-19 Appendix.
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Its Not Aggressive And May Never Need Treatment But Then Again It Might
- Prostate Cancer Basics
- Patient Resources
Dont worry about Gleason 3+3=6 ! Its harmless! We shouldnt even call it cancer! In fact, lets call it IDLE !
Many patients have heard reassurances like these, and yes, if you have to have prostate cancer, Gleason 6 is the best kind to have.
But wait: Lets not call it not cancer, says Johns Hopkins urologic pathologist Jonathan Epstein, M.D. There are some very good reasons to keep the cancer designation for Grade Group 1. Epstein should know he is the originator of the Grade Group system of prostate cancer grading, a system that has been adopted worldwide.
Gleason Score and Grade Group
Under the microscope, he explains, Grade Group 1 cancer has some of the same behaviors as higher-grade cancer. Even though it is not aggressive, it can still invade nerves, go out of the prostate, and rarely, can invade the seminal vesicles. Molecularly, it has many of the hallmarks associated with higher-grade cancer, and has certain features that you do not see in benign prostate glands.
Finally, a name change may not even be that meaningful today, Epstein continues. Grade Group 1 is more intuitive to patients as lowest-grade cancer. With greater acceptance of active surveillance, patients are understanding that not all cancers are the same, that not everyone needs treatment right away or ever and that low-grade cancer can be followed carefully and safely.
Gleason Score and Grade Group
- Prostate Cancer Basics
What Happens If My Cancer Starts To Grow Again
Your first treatment may help keep your cancer under control. But over time, the cancer may change and it may start to grow again.
You will usually stay on your first type of hormone therapy, even if its not working so well. This is because it will still help to keep the amount of testosterone in your body low. But there are other treatments that you can have alongside your usual treatment, to help control the cancer and manage any symptoms. Other treatments include:
Which treatments are suitable for me?
Which treatments are suitable for you will depend on many things, including your general health, how your cancer responds to treatment, and which treatments youve already had. Talk to your doctor or nurse about your own situation, or speak to our Specialist Nurses.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Prostate Cancer Recurrence
Recurrent prostate cancer refers reversal of the disease after complete treatment. If the cancer is contained within the gland it is called as local recurrence, but if it spreads to other parts also then classified as metastatic recurrence. Metastatic prostate gland cancer often spreads to the lungs, bones, and liver.
After receiving the treatment for prostate gland cancer, the levels of PSA in the bloodstream drop considerably. Any increase in PSA levels is the first symptom of recurrent prostate gland cancer, while other signs depend on the spread sites.
Warning signs of prostate cancer recurrence include:
- Blood in the urine
- Difficulty breathing
Sometimes prostate glands noncancerous conditions, such as enlarged prostate or BPH, may cause similar signs. Also, other medical conditions may result in similar signs and are not necessarily linked to cancer. Some urinary signs may be induced by bladder or other infections.
Your Gp Practice Nurse And District Nurse
Your GP, practice nurse, and district or community nurse will work with other health professionals to co-ordinate your care and offer you support and advice. They can also refer you to local services. They can visit you in your home and also help support your family. They might also care for you if you go into a nursing home or hospice.
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Pain: Primary Sign Of Advanced Prostate Cancer
Pain is also one of the common symptoms of advanced prostate cancer. Men with advanced prostate cancer usually feel pain in the areas it has spread to. It is possible, of course, that some men do not experience any pain at all. If you are experiencing pain, then there are ways to relieve or reduce the same. Some men start to feel the pain when cancer spreads to the bones. If prostate cancer has spread to the bone, it can cause damage to the bone or weaken it, thus causing pain. To determine if this is the case, you can undergo a bone scan, which will show whether there are any areas of the bone that has been weakened. The affected areas of the bone that show up on a scan are known as hot spots. The pain radiating from your bones is quite similar to that of a toothache. It feels like a dull aching or stabbing. It tends to worsen when you move, and can also make that particular area tender to touch. Pain might come and go, or it may be constant. The location of the affected bone determines the severity of the pain as well.
- Actual treatment of cancer with hormone therapy, steroids or chemotherapy.
- Treating the pain with pain-relieving medications, bisphosphonates, radiotherapy, a nerve block or using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation .
Apart from these methods, you can also look into complementary therapies to manage your pain. A healthy diet and regular exercising can also make a lot of difference to pain from advanced prostate cancer.
Treatment For Metastatic Prostate Cancer
Treatment for metastatic prostate cancer is based on many things. These include your age and overall health, the location of the cancer, and whether you had treatment before. Options may include hormone therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. These treatments may be combined. Your doctor may suggest a clinical trial.
Your doctor will talk with you about your options and then make a treatment plan. Some people choose to focus on treating their symptoms instead of the cancer .
Some people use complementary therapies along with medical treatment. Therapies like acupuncture or massage may help you cope with the symptoms and stress of cancer. Talk with your doctor about any of these options you would like to try.
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How Is Advanced Or Metastatic Prostate Cancer Treated
Advanced or metastatic prostate cancer may be treated with hormone therapy . Some of these treatments may be combined. Other options may include surgery or observation . For either type of cancer, your doctor may suggest a clinical trial
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Sometimes there are no symptoms of locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer.
When there are symptoms of locally advanced prostate cancer , they may include urinary problems, such as:
- Not being able to urinate at all.
- Having a hard time starting or stopping the flow of urine.
- Having to urinate often, especially at night.
- Having pain or burning during urination.
Less common symptoms of locally advanced prostate cancer may include:
- Difficulty having an erection.
- Deep and frequent pain in your lower back, belly, hip, or pelvis.
These symptoms also may be caused by an enlarged prostate , an infection in the prostate ( prostatitis
- Swelling in the legs and feet.
About Dr Dan Sperling
Dan Sperling, MD, DABR, is a board certified radiologist who is globally recognized as a leader in multiparametric MRI for the detection and diagnosis of a range of disease conditions. As Medical Director of the Sperling Prostate Center, Sperling Medical Group and Sperling Neurosurgery Associates, he and his team are on the leading edge of significant change in medical practice. He is the co-author of the new patient book Redefining Prostate Cancer, and is a contributing author on over 25 published studies. For more information, contact the Sperling Prostate Center.
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Loss Of Libido And Erectile Dysfunction
The hormones that are often used to treat advanced prostate cancer can decrease libido and cause erectile dysfunction , which occurs when a man isnt able to have or keep an erection to have sex, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York.
As a result, for couples, theres a real struggle to recover that sense of life together how to be intimate without having sex, says Michael J. Morris, MD, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
Depending on the type of treatment that caused the ED, the ability to have an erection may improve over time, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. You and your partner may want to explore other ways to be intimate in your relationship. A sex therapist or couples counselor may be able to help. There are also treatments available for erectile dysfunction, such as medications and implants.
What Is My Outlook
If youre diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, you may want to know how well your treatment is likely to control your cancer and for how long it will control it. This is sometimes called your outlook or prognosis. But not all men will want to know this.
While it isnt possible to cure advanced prostate cancer, treatments can help keep it under control, often for several years. Treatments will also help manage any symptoms, such as pain.
No one can tell you exactly what your outlook will be, as it will depend on many things such as where the cancer has spread to, how quickly it has spread, and how well you respond to treatment. Some men may not respond well to one treatment, but may respond better to another. And when your first treatment stops working, there are other treatments available to help keep the cancer under control for longer. Speak to your doctor about your own situation and any questions or concerns you have.
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Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer Spread To The Bones
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. This can include the:
The most common symptom if cancer has spread to the bone is bone pain. It is usually there most of the time and can wake you up at night. The pain can be a dull ache or stabbing pain.
Your bones might also become weaker and more likely to break .
When prostate cancer spreads to the spine, it can put pressure on the spinal cord and cause spinal cord compression. This stops the nerves from being able to work properly. Back pain is usually the first symptom of spinal cord compression.
Spinal cord compression is an emergency. You should contact your treatment team immediately if you are worried you might have spinal cord compression.
Some Symptoms With These Problems Would Include:
- Losing bowel control:
Prostate cancer may spread to your bowel as well. Cancer first spreads to the rectum and then to the bowel which is closer to the prostate gland.
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Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. It can also spread to the:
A large tumour in the prostate gland can spread into or press on areas around the prostate, such as the back passage or urethra. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Fast Facts On Prostate Cancer
- Prostate cancer rarely reaches an advanced stage.
- People with the condition normally have a very good outlook when they receive an early diagnosis and treatment.
- Hormone therapy is a treatment option for advanced prostate cancer, as are chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
- Prostate cancer can spread to the bones, brain, and lungs.
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland mutate and start to develop abnormally, multiplying at an uncontrolled rate. In some instances, the cancerous cells can spread to other body parts through tissue, the blood, or the lymphatic system.
After a doctor diagnoses prostate cancer, they will test to see if the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, or how much of the body is affected.
The doctor will assign a stage of prostate cancer from 1 to 4. Stage 4 is the most advanced form.
Stage 4 prostate cancer has spread to pelvic lymph nodes or is blocking the ureters. The ureters are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Stage 4 prostate cancer may also have spread to the bladder, the rectum, the bones, or distant lymph nodes.
Doctors will test any cancerous cells in the body to determine if the additional cells came from the prostate. Even if they detect cancer in the bones, doctors still consider this prostate cancer if that is where the cancer originated.
There are two types of stage 4 prostate cancer:
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