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7 alarming signs of prostate cancer progression

Advanced prostate cancer, also called metastatic cancer, means the cancer has spread to other parts of your body besides the prostate. The most common areas for prostate cancer to spread are the bladder, rectum, and bones. It can also spread to lymph nodes, liver, lungs and other body tissues.

Whether you’ve just been diagnosed or are undergoing treatment, it’s also important to know the signs of advanced cancer. Cancer can behave differently depending on your genetic makeup, so the same symptoms do not show up in the same way in everyone.

7 Main Symptoms of Advanced Prostate Cancer and How to Spot Them

1. Bladder and urinary disorders

A prostate tumor that has grown significantly in size can begin to put pressure on your bladder and urethra. The urethra is the passage that allows urine to exit the bladder. If the tumor presses on the urethra, you may have difficulty urinating. The bladder is one of the areas most frequently affected by prostate cancer, because these two organs are close. This can lead to additional problems with urination and bladder function.
Here are some symptoms of cancer affecting your bladder and urethra:

– urinate more frequently
– getting up in the middle of the night to pee
– presence of blood in urine or semen
– having the impression of having to urinate often and not evacuate any liquid
– inability to hold urine (incontinence).

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2. Loss of bowel control

It’s less common, but prostate cancer can also spread to the intestine. The cancer first spreads to the rectum, which is the part of the intestine closest to the prostate.
Symptoms of cancer that has spread to the intestines are:

– stomach pain
– constipation
– blood in stool

3. Groin pain

When prostate cancer spreads, it is common for cancer cells to reach the lymph nodes and then travel to other parts of the body. Lymph nodes are a network of glands that help your body filter fluids and fight infection. There are several lymph nodes in your groin. These are closest to your prostate, so cancer often spreads there first. Cancer cells prevent your lymph nodes from draining fluids and working properly. When this happens, your lymph nodes swell. Therefore, you may experience pain or discomfort in this area.

4. Leg swelling or weakness

Advanced cancer begins to crowd out other healthy cells in your body as it grows. Tumors can press on areas such as the spinal cord and cause pain, tingling, or swelling in the legs and feet.

5. Hip or back pain

One of the most common areas for prostate cancer to spread is to the bone, often the hip and spine, which are closest to the prostate. When cancer reaches your bones, it begins to crowd out healthy bone material. The bones become brittle and can break much more easily than they normally would. The spread of cancer to your bones is painful and often requires treatment to manage the pain. You may feel a dull or throbbing pain that does not go away and interferes with your sleep or normal activities.

Back pain can be a sign of both the spread of cancer to your bones and the start of compression of your spinal cord. Spinal cord compression occurs when cancer puts so much pressure on the spinal cord that the nerves can no longer function properly. It requires medical treatment, and your cancer team can talk to you about a plan ahead of time.

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6. Cough or shortness of breath

If you have advanced cancer and start having difficulty breathing, it may mean that the cancer has spread to your lungs. You may develop a cough that won’t go away, start coughing up blood, or get out of breath easily. Cancer in your lungs can also lead to fluid buildup, causing infections and even lung collapse.

7. Unexplained weight loss

Losing weight without eating less or actively trying to lose weight is a general sign of advanced cancer. This can be combined with some of the other signs above. Loss of appetite or interest in food is also a sign that cancer has spread to other parts of your body, such as the liver.

Even if your cancer has reached an advanced stage, there are still many treatment options. People can live longer today than in the past thanks to advances in medical research. Treatments for advanced prostate cancer focus on managing symptoms and slowing the growth and spread of the cancer. Your doctor knows the treatment options and tests, but you know your body. Be sure to communicate with your doctor and let them know about any changes you notice in your body at each visit.

Sources

Advancedcancer. (2014, March 6)

Dawson, N. (2016, February 25). Patient education: Treatment for advanced prostate cancer (beyond the basics)

Prostate cancer: Symptoms of advanced cancer. (2016, July 5)

What is advanced prostate cancer? (nd)

* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice. [HighProtein-Foods.com]

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