The (early) symptoms of prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men. It causes more than 8,000 deaths, or about 1 death per hour. Pain, fatigue… What are the signs of a prostate tumor? At the advanced stage?

It’s the cancer more common in men with approx 50,000 new cases discovered each year in France. Prostate cancer is responsible for more than 8000 deaths, it is 1 death every hour. On the occasion of Movember which promotes prostate cancer screening every November, we took stock signs that may (or may not) warn of prostate cancerat beginning disease or a more advanced stagewith Dr. Natacha Naoun, oncologist specializing in Genito-Urinary Oncology at Gustave Roussy.

What are the first signs of prostate cancer?

“Most of the time, prostate cancer does not cause symptoms, it is said to be asymptomatic, Dr. Natacha Naoun answers immediately. That symptoms which can lead to the random identification when there is someone, can be urinary tract signs with difficulty urinating and/or bleedingand signs of digestion since the back of the prostate is close to the rectum, but all this is extremely rare when the cancer is localized. Generally, the man discovers it during a balance for urinary tract disorders or PSA assay (prostate-specific antigen)”

Prostate Cancer Chart © blueringmedia – stock.adobe.com / Journal des Femmes

Is prostate cancer responsible for urinary tract diseases?

The prostate is located below the bladder, hence the fact that a problem with the prostate can manifest as urinary dysfunction (frequent urination, feeling unable to empty the bladder, difficulty urinating…), but it is not necessarily a sign of cancer. The prostate is a gland that tends to degenerate into hypertrophy with ageit is a phenomenon normal and progressive, which may be accompanied by an increase in its volume, which is called “adenomaor benign prostatic hyperplasia, explains Dr. Naoun.

Prostate adenoma does not mean cancer.

The adenoma is the one that causes the most symptoms, including urinary tract symptoms. The adenoma is benign and not related to cancer. In case of urinary tract disorders, it is advisable to consult the urologist or attending physician to see if there is an adenoma. “On this occasion, prostate cancer can be found via the PSA analysis or by tissue analysis when the adenoma is removed to alleviate urinary tract disorders (but this is not systematic, adenoma does not mean cancer, editor’s note)” says Dr. Naoun.

Can prostate cancer cause physical symptoms?

“Most of the time, no one. The person is fine” answers our interlocutor. When there are physical symptoms “they are most often associated with prostate adenoma, which can lead to the discovery of cancer, but it is not he who causes it”. ONE Advanced disease can cause physical symptoms “but they are not specific to prostate cancer and can be seen in other cancers.”

“Advanced disease can manifest as bone pain”

What are the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer?

About 10% of prostate cancers are metastatic from the start that is, when they are discovered. People who have localized forms of cancer can also progress to metastatic forms.The primary site of prostate cancer metastasis is the bonesadvanced disease may manifest as bone pain. explains the oncologist. The man can also present one deterioration of the general condition, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite “but these signs of metastatic disease are not specific to prostate cancer. It can be metastases from other forms of cancer, as prostate cancer occurs at an age when the risk of cancer is already greater. she continues.

Does prostate cancer cause pain?

“There is no pain specific to prostate cancer” answers Dr. Naoun. If the pain does not go away, contact the attending physician to discuss it. On advanced stagethere might be painsespecially bone as bone is the main site of metastatic spread of prostate cancer.

At what age does prostate cancer occur?

“The average age of onset of prostate cancer is approx 68 years old, in any case beyond the age of 65. There are also some early forms in subjects of African and Afro-Caribbean origin, and when there is a history of prostate cancer in the family, especially if related decreased sick younganswers Dr. Naoun.

When should you consult your doctor?

“You should not rely on the symptoms to talk to the doctor, but anticipate” recommends Dr. Naoun. It is therefore advisable for all men to discuss with their attending physician a possible screening for prostate cancer at 50 years “even earlier, around 40-45 years, depending on their ethnic origin (African/Afro-Caribbean) and family background”. It is important to inform the doctor during this consultation cases of cancer in the prostate, but also in the breast, ovary or pancreas in the family. “In connection with mutations that can be hereditary, we can find cases clustered in the family” says our interlocutor. There is no organized screening for prostate cancer (as is found for breast cancer in women, editor’s note) because “We are not sure that early diagnosis is relevant. There is debate. For subjects of a certain age when a PSA has been done, there is a risk of overtreating them and worsening their overall health for a cancer that probably wouldn’t have taken them away, so screening is done on a case-by-case basis. ” explains our interlocutor. In case of doubt, the doctor will ask for a dose of PSA.

An elevated PSA level is not 100% indicative of prostate cancer.

“PSA is the specific antigen of the prostate, it is a blood marker for prostate cancer, but its increase does not mean in 100% of cases that there is cancer. It can also increase in cases of prostatitis (inflammation or infection of the prostate), ed. note), warns the oncologist. pIf it’s high on a first dose, we’ll check it again. Other tests may be performed depending on the results: digital rectal examination, prostate MRI or even prostate biopsies.

Can a woman have symptoms of prostate cancer?

Nix, A woman may not have symptoms of prostate cancer because she does not have a prostate. “The prostate is a gland found only in men and is part of the male reproductive system” remember Dr. Naoun. There is therefore no prostate cancer in women.

Thanks to Dr. Natacha Naoun, oncologist specializing in Genito-Urinary Oncology at Gustave Roussy.

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