Urinary problems are the most commonly encountered symptoms of prostate cancer, but these are not the only signs that can signal an underlying cancer.
A Word of Caution About This List
It’s important to remember the old adage that doctors are taught while in medical school -- that “common things are common.” In other words, the symptoms listed below are labeled as “less common” for a reason -– they are not what most men will experience. Most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer today do not show any specific symptoms at the time of diagnosis and, amongst those who are having symptoms, the vast majority will experience only urinary symptoms.
Additionally, this is by no means a complete list of possible less common symptoms because cancer can spread to any area of the body and cause virtually any symptom.
The following symptoms are important to keep in mind, however, especially if you or a loved one has a high underlying risk of prostate cancer due to a strong family history of the disease or due to any other reason.
Less Common Symptoms of Prostate Cancer
- Bone Pain
Prostate cancer has a strong preference for spreading to the bones once it has moved beyond the immediate vicinity of the prostate. The most common areas of bone metastasis from prostate cancer are the lower spine, the pelvis, and the hips. These areas of metastasis will often be painful.
- Blood in the Urine or Semen
The prostate’s primary function is to produce the fluid that makes up semen. If prostate cancer causes bleeding within the prostate, it is possible for this blood to be discharged in the semen.
The urethra, a small tube carrying urine from the bladder through the penis to the outside of the body, passes through the prostate. Prostate cancer can sometimes invade or erode into the sides of the urethra and cause bleeding into the urine.
- Tingling, Numbness, and Pain in the Legs and Feet
Prostate cancer has a strong preference for spreading to the bones, especially the lower spine, pelvis, and hips. If the cancer spreads to the lower spine or certain areas within the pelvis, it is possible for the tumor to compress important nerves that pass through these areas on their way to the legs.
Compression of these nerves can cause tingling, numbness, or pain in the legs and feet.
Kumar: Robbins and Cotran: Pathologic Basis of Disease, 7th ed. 2005.