Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer
One of the most significant of the causes of delay in prostate cancer treatment is the non-specific nature of prostate cancer symptoms. The most common symptom is urinary frequency, the increased need to pass urine. This symptom of prostate cancer is insidious, coming slowly over a large number of years. It is not diagnostic of prostate cancer, but is shared with benign enlargements of the prostate, which is a non-malignant condition. Benign enlargement of the prostate is virtually universal in men of a certain age.
Many patients will view the symptom as being unimportant until this symptom becomes critical. Because the symptom is shared with benign enlargement of the prostate and malignancy is difficult to diagnose in general practice, the majority of patients will be referred on without an indication that the need for hospital review is in any way urgent.
There are other prostate cancer symptoms: sometimes, when there is significant obstruction to the flow of urine from the enlarged prostate, the bladder may not empty completely. When the bladder is unable to empty completely, urine infections may become a problem. Infections are almost always suggestive of a significant problem and require proper investigation. It is unusual for a cancer of the prostate gland to cause any other symptoms, unless the disease has spread from the prostate to involve other parts of the body.