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Early prostate cancer often doesn't cause any symptoms. It usually doesn't cause any symptoms until it grows big enough to press on the tube that carries wee from your bladder out of your body (urethra). 

Diagram showing prostate gland

Even if you have any of the symptoms below, this doesn't mean you have prostate cancer as they can also be symptoms for other prostate conditions. 

The symptoms can include:

Passing urine more often

You might find you need to empty your bladder more than normal during the day.

Getting up in the night to empty your bladder (nocturia)

You might notice that you're getting up more than normal in the night to empty your bladder.

Difficulty passing urine

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include: 

  • weaker flow when passing urine 
  • not being able to completely empty your bladder 
  • straining when starting to emptying your bladder - this is called urinary hesitancy 

Prostate cancer pressing on the tube that empties our urine from the bladder (urethra) can cause these symptoms. 


You might often have a sudden strong urge to empty your bladder. And you may need to rush to the toilet.

Leaking urine

You might find that you leak a little after passing urine.

Blood in urine or semen

You may have blood in your urine or semen. This is rare.

Erection problems

You might find it difficult to get an erection. This is uncommon.

What else can cause these symptoms

As men get older their prostate gland enlarges. It isn't normally cancer. But instead a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). BPH doesn’t usually develop into cancer. But an enlarged prostate might sometimes contain areas of cancer cells.

BPH and prostate cancer have very similar symptoms, caused by the prostate gland pressing on the urethra. The urethra is the tube that empties out urine from the bladder.

When to see your doctor

See your doctor if you have any of the changes described here.

The changes might not mean that you have cancer but it is important to get them checked.

Last reviewed: 
22 May 2019
  • Suspected cancer recognition and referral
    National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2015

  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    J Tobias and D Hochhauser
    Blackwell, 2015

  • Cancer of the prostate: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up
    C Parker and others,
    Annals of Oncology, 2015. Volume 26, Pages 569-577

  • Principles and practice of oncology (10th edition)
    VT De Vita, S Hellman and SA Rosenberg
    Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015

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