Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among men. The prostate is located around the urethra and below the bladder. Regular screenings can often catch prostate cancer in its early stages, however, it can go undetected. When this happens, the cancer may spread to other body parts. This is considered stage IV, or advanced prostate cancer. The symptoms of advanced prostate cancer differ from those of its earlier stages. Always be on the lookout for these symptoms and if you are experiencing any of them, go see a doctor right away. Here are the top seven signs of advanced prostate cancer.
1) Urinary Problems
Since the prostate is located around the urethra, it makes sense that it will be affected the most by prostate cancer. If you have advanced prostate cancer, you may have difficulty urinating or fully emptying your bladder. You may also experience sudden urges to urinate.
When you do urinate, you may notice blood in the toilet. You may also experience burning or pain as you urinate. You may also may need to go more often than usual, especially at night.
2) Brittle Bones
Cancer can spread to your bones and cause them to become weak and brittle. They can break more easily and can cause pain throughout the day.
The most common areas to feel bone pain from advanced prostate cancer are in the hip and back. You may also feel stiffer and sorer in these areas.
As the cancer spreads, it can cause pain in different parts of your body. The first areas to be affected will be your groin, hips, pelvis, and lower back. Your groin has many lymph nodes.
Since cancer can often spread to your lymph nodes, your groin is highly susceptible to pain. However, pain in your bones and other parts of your body are possible.
You may feel extremely tired, even after getting plenty of sleep. This type of fatigue is common in those with prostate cancer. It can be caused by both the cancer and its treatments.
When you feel fatigued, it can make easy tasks seem insurmountable and affect your mood.
5) Bowel Problems
Since your prostate is close to your bowels, prostate cancer may cause problems with your bowel movements. You may experience pain in your rectum or abdomen. There may be blood in your stool. You may also experience constipation or diarrhea. You may also notice an increase in flatulence.
If the cancer spreads to your lymph nodes, it can cause a condition called lymphedema. This means the cancer is blocking your lymph nodes, keeping them from properly draining.
This can cause swelling in your arms or legs. The cancer can also crowd out the healthy areas of your body, causing swelling in both your legs and feet, tight skin, and inflammation.
7) Loss of Appetite
Cancer can cause a loss of appetite because it crowds out the good cells in your body and effects your internal organs like your liver and stomach. Unexplained weight loss also goes along with this.
How to Manage Symptoms
If your prostate cancer has advanced, then your doctor will focus on preventing the spread of the cancer and relieving your symptoms like pain and swelling. There are a variety of treatments available for prostate cancer. These include hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Hormone therapy is used to stop the production of hormones that cause cancer to grow. Chemotherapy involves the use of powerful drugs that kill cancer cells. Immunotherapy takes a different approach. It works to build up your immune system so your body can better fight the cancer. If your cancer has spread to your bones, there are medications available to make your bones stronger and decrease your pain.
In addition to medication, you can manage symptoms by eating a healthy diet, exercising when possible, and asking for help from your family, friends, and community. A healthy lifestyle can help you feel better and keep other health concerns at bay. Your friends and family can take care of errands, provide meals, and help with chores if you feel unwell.
The best way to avoid an advanced cancer prognosis is to get regular screenings. When prostate cancer is caught in its early stages, it has a very favorable survival rate. However, even advanced cases of prostate cancer can have a high survival rate, and you can have a high quality of life, no matter your diagnosis. Research is ongoing and new medical breakthroughs happen often. It is important to remember that you need to communicate with your doctor about your symptoms and how you are feeling. There are a variety of treatments available to relieve pain, help with urinary problems, and increase your appetite. If one drug does not work, there may be another one that will!
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