Symptoms and Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer


Different people have different symptoms for prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all.

Some symptoms of prostate cancer are—

•Difficulty starting urination.
•Weak, or interrupted flow of urine.
•Frequent urination, especially at night.
•Difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
•Pain or burning during urination.
•Blood in the urine or semen.
•Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn't go away.
•Painful ejaculation.
If you have any symptoms that worry you, be sure to see your doctor right away. Keep in mind that these symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer.

Research has found risk factors that increase your chances of getting prostate cancer. These risk factors include—

•Age: The older a man is, the greater his risk for getting prostate cancer.1
•Family history: Certain genes (the functional and physical units of heredity passed from parent to offspring) that you inherited from your parents may affect your prostate cancer risk. Currently, no single gene is sure to raise or lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. However, a man with a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer is two to three times more likely to develop the disease himself.1
•Race: Prostate cancer is more common in some racial and ethnic groups than in others, but medical experts do not know why.
Researchers are trying to determine the causes of prostate cancer and whether it can be prevented. They do not yet agree on the factors that can influence a man's risk of developing the disease, either positively or negatively. Some of the factors under study include—1 2 3 4

•Vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements.
•Diets high in animal fat, especially polyunsaturated fat.
•Men's hormone levels.
•Environmental agents (pesticide residues on foods, and industrial and occupational exposures).
1Bostwick DG, Burke HB, Djakiew D, Euling S, Ho SM, Landolph J, Morrison H, Sonawane B, Shifflett T, Waters DJ, Timms B. Human prostate cancer risk factors. Cancer 2004;101(10 Suppl):2371–2490.

2Vainio H, Bianchini F, eds. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol 6: Weight Control and Physical Activity. Lyon, France: IARC Press; 2002.

3Curry S, Byers T, Hewitt M, eds. Fulfilling the Potential of Cancer Prevention and Early Detection.

4Platz EA, Giovannucci E. Prostate Cancer. In: Schottenfeld D, Fraumeni JF, eds. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, 3rd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006.