In the early stages, you may not notice any symptoms related to prostate cancer. This is why screenings are important. Symptoms can sometimes be noticed for the first time when cancer advances. Advanced prostate cancer, also called metastatic cancer, means it has spread to other areas of your body beyond your prostate gland. The most common areas for prostate cancer to spread are your bladder, rectum, and bones. It can also spread to your lymph nodes, liver, lungs, and other body tissues.
Whether you have just been diagnosed or you are in treatment, it is also important to know the signs of advanced cancer. Cancer can behave differently depending on your genetics, so not every person will experience the same symptoms in the same way. Read on to learn more about the seven top symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and how to spot them.
#1: Bladder and Urinary Troubles
A prostate tumour that has grown significantly in size may start to press on your bladder and urethra. The urethra is the passage that carries urine from your bladder out of your body. If the tumour is pressing on your urethra, you might have trouble passing urine.
One of the common areas for prostate cancer to spread to is the bladder because the two organs are close. This can cause additional problems with urination and bladder function. Some symptoms that indicate your bladder and urethra are being affected by cancer include:
- Urinating more frequently
- Getting up in the middle of the night to pee
- Having blood in your urine or semen
- Feeling like you have to urinate often and not actually passing anything
- Not being able to hold your urine
#2: Losing Bowel Control
It is not as common, but prostate cancer can also spread to your bowel. Cancer first spreads to the rectum, which is the part of your bowel closest to the prostate gland. Symptoms of cancer that spread to the bowels include:
- Stomach pain
- Blood in your stool
#3: Soreness in the groin
When prostate cancer spreads, it is common for cancer cells to go to your lymph nodes and then move to more areas. The lymph nodes are a network of glands that help your body filter fluids and fight infections.
There are several lymph nodes in your groin. These are the ones closest to your prostate, so it is common for cancer to spread to them first. Cancer cells prevent your lymph nodes from draining fluid and working properly. When this happens, your lymph nodes swell. As a result, you might experience pain or soreness in the area.
#4: Leg swelling or weakness
Advanced cancer begins to crowd out other healthy cells in your body when it grows. Tumours can press on areas like your spinal cord and cause pain, tingling, or swelling in your legs and feet.
#5: Hip or Back Pain
One of the most common areas for prostate cancer to spread is to the bones, often your hip and spine since these are closest to your prostate. When cancer reaches your bones, it starts to crowd out healthy bone material. Bones become brittle and can break much easier than they normally would.
Having cancer spread to your bones is painful and often requires treatment to manage the pain. You may feel a dull ache or stabbing pain that doesn’t go away and disrupts sleep or regular activities. Back pain can be a sign of both cancers spreading to your bones or the beginning of pressure on your spinal cord. Spinal cord compression happens when cancer is pushing so hard against the spinal cord that the nerves can no longer work properly. This requires medical treatment.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of prostate cancer, make sure you contact your GP and get the treatment you need.