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Early prostate cancer often has no symptoms at all.

If you do have symptoms they can be similar to those of other prostate conditions.

The symptoms 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

You may be getting up a few times in the night to empty your bladder.

Difficulty passing urine

It might be harder to empty your bladder than normal. This is called urinary hesitancy.

It might be difficult to start emptying your bladder or the flow might be weaker.

You might be straining to pass urine. Or it might stop and start when you do go.


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 is not normally due to cancer. It is 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.

Diagram showing prostate gland
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: 
15 Aug 2015
  • Scottish referral guidelines for suspected cancer
    The Scottish Government, 2014


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

  • 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

Information and help

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