Prostate CancerDiagnosis and Treatment
Signs of prostate cancer include a weak flow of urine or frequent urination.These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by prostate cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
Weak or interrupted ("stop-and-go") flow of urine.
Sudden urge to urinate.
Frequent urination (especially at night).
Trouble starting the flow of urine.
Trouble emptying the bladder completely.
Pain or burning while urinating.
Blood in the urine or semen.
A pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn't go away.
Shortness of breath, feeling very tired, fast heartbeat, dizziness, or pale skin caused by anemia.
In its early stages, prostate cancer do not cause any symptoms. As the cancer progresses, the enlarging tumour compress the urethra, blocking the flow of urine. When this happens, frequent urination and terminal dribbling occur. Occasionally, blood in the urine or semen is the first sign of prostate cancer. As prostate cancer advances, it spreads to the pelvic lymph nodes and the bones, causing leg swelling and bone pain. At this stage, the kidney may become completely blocked and fractures may occur. A late manifestation is spinal cord compression and paralysis.
Stage 1 : there are no symptoms. The cancer is of small volume and is confined to the prostate gland. It usually goes undetected, cannot be felt on finger examination and picked up during health screening when the PSA level is high (> 4 ng/dL) or after transurethral prostate (TURP) surgery.
Stage 2 : the cancer can be felt as a hard nodule on rectal examination. Although the tumour has grown to the point where it can be felt, it is still confined within the prostate and cure is still possible.
Stage 3 : the cancer has begun to spread out of the prostate capsule. At this stage, urinary symptoms appear, eg. frequent, difficult urination, terminal dribbling. This stage is also known as locally advanced stage and the cancer has less chance of being completely cured. Treatment is aimed at slowing its spread and preventing further bladder blockage.
Stage 4 : the cancer has already spread beyond the prostate to the lymph nodes and bones. Symptoms at this stage include retention of urine, bone pain, weight loss and fatigue. At this stage, treatment is targeted at preventing further complications and reducing pain.