Prostate Cancer (cont.)
When to Seek Medical Care
One should consult a health care professional if any of the following symptoms are present:
- Difficulty initiating and/or stopping a urine stream
- Frequent urination
- Pain on urination
- Pain on ejaculation
- Decreasing speed of urine flow or a urine stream that stops and starts
- A sensation of incomplete emptying of the bladder even after passing urine
- Erectile dysfunction
- Bone pain and/or fractures
One should go to the nearest hospital emergency department without delay if any of the following symptoms occur:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): Burning pain on urination, urgency, or frequent urination, especially with fever.
- Bladder obstruction: Not urinating or urinating very little despite drinking enough fluid; producing little urine despite straining; pain due to a full bladder.
- Acute kidney failure: Not urinating or urinating little, with little discomfort, despite drinking enough fluid.
- Deep bone pain, especially in the back, hips, or thighs, or bone fracture: Possible sign of advanced prostate cancer that has spread to the bone.
- Spinal cord compression: This occurs when the cancer has spread to vertebrae of the spine and tailbone region. The weakened vertebrae can collapse on the spinal cord. Typical symptoms that might signal acute spinal cord compression include weakness in the legs and difficulty walking, increased difficulty urinating or moving the bowels, difficulty controlling the bladder or bowels, and decreased sensation, numbness, or tingling in the groin or legs. These are often preceded by pain in the hip (usually one-sided) or back lasting a few days or weeks. This condition is a true emergency and requires immediate evaluation in the nearest hospital emergency department. Failure to be treated immediately can result in permanent spinal cord damage.
Pierre-Alain Hueber, MD, PhD
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