Prostate cancer symptoms: The ‘first symptom’ that the tumour has spread to the bones

This Morning: Dr Philippa Kaye discusses prostate cancer symptoms

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When prostate cancer is localised to the prostate – a walnut-sized gland located between the bladder and penis – signs might include: an increased need to urinate and straining while peeing. Yet, when prostate cancer is advanced enough to spread to the bones, the most common area for the tumour to metastasise, spinal cord compression can occur. Spinal cord compression, Cancer Research UK explained, happens when the cancer has spread to the spine, putting pressure on the spinal cord.

“This stops the nerves being able to work properly,” the charity pointed out.

As such, “back pain is usually the first symptom” of advanced prostate cancer causing spinal compression.

This is considered an “emergency”, so if you have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer and you experience this symptom, tell your treatment team as soon as possible.

Expanding on back pain, it “may feel like a tight band around your body”.

Additionally, the pain could feel worse when you cough, sneeze, or go to the toilet.

The pain is also “made worse by lying flat on your back” and “doesn’t go away”.

Other symptoms might include:

  • Weakness in your legs or arms
  • Difficulty walking
  • Changes to sensations in your body, such as pins and needles or numbness
  • Not being able to go for a wee or poo
  • Difficulty controlling your bladder or bowel
  • Erection problems.

When the cancer is growing along the bones, the affected bones are likely to hurt.

The pain can be so troublesome that it can wake up from a deep slumber.

“The pain can be a dull ache or stabbing pain,” Cancer Research UK added.

Bones may become weaker too, which means they are more likely to fracture.

There are other areas where prostate cancer might spread to, including the lymph nodes, liver, lungs, bladder, or bowel.

The lymph nodes, for example, are response for filtering bodily fluid and bolstering the immune system.

“There are lots of lymph nodes in the groin area, which is close to the prostate gland,” Cancer Research UK stated.

Most commonly, the cancerous area will swell and become sore, and when cancer cells prevent lymph fluids from draining away, the legs could swell.

If you are concerned about any symptoms, do speak to your healthcare team who can support you.

The prognosis for advanced prostate cancer is to have surgery or radiotherapy.

Following radiotherapy, you will probably feel tired and will need time to recover.

“You may have to reduce your working hours or stop working altogether,” the NHS added.

“Whatever stage your prostate cancer has reached, try to give yourself time to do the things you enjoy and spend time with those who care about you.”

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