Prostate cancer can cause pain in many areas and not just because of bone spread, but also due to other features of the disease.
It can feel different ways depending on the nature of the cause.
“Curable early stage prostate cancer usually does not cause pain,” says Sean Cavanaugh, MD, Chief of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
“That is the most important message — do not use pain as a primary screening mechanism for prostate cancer.
“Most pain associated with prostate cancer is from bone metastases in stage IV disease.
“For example, men with bone metastases to their spine may have pain in their back.”
Prostate cancer can spread to the ribs (rib or chest pain), pelvis (pelvic pain) and femur (leg pain).
Even shoulder and arm pain are possible when a metastatic tumor is pressing against the spine.
“Bone metastases occur in approximately 80% of patients with advanced prostate cancer,” says the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
When prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it almost always goes first to the bones.
• Bone pain from prostate cancer can feel like a dull ache or feel like a “toothache in the bones,” or you may feel a sharper sensation.
• Can worsen with movement
• May come and go or be constant
Other Locations of Pain from Prostate Cancer
• Pain during urination
• Painful ejaculation
• Leg and foot pain from swelling/edema
• Shooting, burning or stabbing pain can occur in the lower extremities if a metastasis is pressing against a nerve.
• Lower abdominal pain or soreness can occur if a tumor is causing pressure on the organs that surround the prostate.
If you’ve been having any of the following symptoms, many benign conditions can explain them. But so can prostate cancer. Better safe than sorry.
Get yourself checked out if you’ve been experiencing any of the following:
• Urination discomfort of any sort
• Any difficulty with urination
• Increased urges to urinate overnight
• Loss of bladder control
• Reduced flow of urine stream
• Appearance of blood in the urine
• Blood in semen
• Erectile dysfunction
• Pain ejaculating
• Numbness in the lower extremities
• Unexplained fatigue or weight loss
WARNING: Many of the aforementioned symptoms are signs of advanced disease.
The time to get checked is at the first sign of symptoms, even if they seem trite such as reduced urine stream or having more urges to urinate overnight.
Furthermore, annual PSA tests are highly recommended beginning at age 50 for men at average risk of prostate cancer.