Information For Patients

Symptoms and diagnosis of prostate cancer.


Cancers that are found within the prostate gland only are known as early prostate cancer. Men with early prostate cancer are unlikely to have any symptoms at all. Prostate cancers usually only cause symptoms when they are large enough to disturb your bladder or press on the tube that drains urine. For that reason, the symptoms of prostate cancer, when they appear, are like the symptoms of an enlarged prostate .

The symptoms of prostate cancer include:
• Passing urine more often, especially at night
• Pain or difficulty when passing urine
• Trouble starting or stopping the flow of urine
• The feeling of not having emptied your bladder
• Frequent pain in your lower back, hips or upper thighs
• Trouble having or keeping an erection
• Blood in your urine or sperm (very rare)

If you have any of the above symptoms, get them checked out by your doctor. But remember that most enlarged prostate glands are not cancer and can be easily treated.


First, visit your family doctor (GP) if you are worried about any symptoms. Your GP can examine you and do some blood tests. If your GP is still concerned about you, he or she can refer you to a hospital specialist called a urologist for more tests.

Tests for prostate cancer

The PSA test
This is a blood test to measure the PSA level in your blood. A small sample of blood is taken from your arm using a needle and syringe. PSA is a protein made by the prostate gland that can be found into your bloodstream. Sometimes a raised PSA level can be a sign of prostate cancer. But more often it is caused by something less serious like an inflamed prostate or an enlarged prostate that comes with ageing.

A single PSA test cannot show you if a prostate cancer is present or if it is slow or fast growing. If you have any concerns contact your GP for advice.

For further information visit: www.cancer.ie