Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

What are the symptoms of prostate cancer?

There are usually no specific signs or symptoms of early prostate cancer, which is why prostate screening is so important. An annual physical examination, prostate-specific antigen blood test and digital rectal exam provide the best chance of identifying prostate cancer in its earliest stages.

The following are the most common symptoms of prostate cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine.
  • Urinating often (especially at night). 
  • Difficulty urinating or holding back urine.
  • Inability to urinate.
  • Pain or burning when urinating.
  • Blood in the urine or semen.
  • Ragging pain in the back, hips or pelvis. 
  • Difficulty having an erection.

The symptoms of prostate cancer may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

As a man gets older, his prostate may grow bigger and obstruct the flow of urine, or interfere with sexual function. An enlarged prostate gland a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia may require treatment with medicine or surgery to relieve symptoms. This common benign prostate condition, which is not cancer, can cause many of the same symptoms as prostate cancer.