Prostate Cancer: When To Seek Help

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 26 April 2021

Prostate Screening

Men should not be screened for prostate cancer until they have obtained information from their health care provider during a consultation about the uncertainties, dangers, and possible benefits of prostate cancer screening, according to the American Cancer Society. That discussion, which will allow men to make an educated decision, should occur based on the following schedule:

  • Age 50 for men with an average risk of prostate cancer and a life expectancy of at least ten years.
  • Men in high-risk groups, such as Blacks and those with a father, brother, or son who was diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65, can start screening at 45 years old.
  • Age 40 for men who have more than one close relative (father, brother, or son) who had prostate cancer at an early age

Red Flag Symptoms:

See your health care provider if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty initiating or stopping a urine stream
  • Frequent urination
  • Urination that causes pain
  • Pain on ejaculation
  • Blood in your semen

Go to the nearest hospital emergency department right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI) – burning pain during urination, urgency, and repeated urination, especially when accompanied by a fever.
  • Bladder obstruction – not urinating or very little urination even  after consuming plenty of water; producing little urine despite straining; discomfort from a loaded bladder.
  • Acute kidney failure – not urinating or urinating little and with associated pain, despite consuming adequate fluid.
  • Deep bone pain or a bone fracture, particularly in the back, hips, or thighs, maybe a symptom of advanced prostate cancer that has metastasized to the bones.

Metastasis of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer may spread to nearby organs or migrate to your bones or other organs through your bloodstream or lymphatic system. The spine is the most common site of bone metastasis in prostate cancer patients. The spinal cord will eventually be compressed due to pain from the vertebrae or a tumor at the spine. Spinal cord compression is a real emergency, as it may be the first sign of cancer.

Signs that your spinal cord is compressed include:

  • Leg weakness and walking difficulties.
  • Increased difficulty in urinating or opening your bowels.
  • Control of your bladder or bowels becomes difficult.
  • Decreased sensation, numbness, or tingling in the groin or legs.

Pressure in the hip (usually on one side) or back that lasts a few days or weeks often precedes these symptoms. Such signs should be evaluated as soon as possible at the nearest hospital. If you don't get immediate medical attention, you might end up with an irreversible injury to your spinal cord.


Referenced on  10.4.2021

  1. Author: Hardik C Soni, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Martin Luther King Jr/Charles Drew Medical Center.
  2. Coauthor(s): Eugene Hardin, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science; Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine, Martin Luther King, Jr/Drew Medical Center.
  3. Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Jerry Balentine, DO, Professor of
  4. Emergency Medicine, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine; Medical Director, Saint Barnabas Hospital.
  5. American Cancer Society
  6. Prostate Cancer: When to Seek Medical Care from eMedicineHealth.
  7. Oncology: “Prostate Cancer and Spinal Cord Compression."
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  10. Early detection of prostate cancer. (2015).
  11. Final recommendation statement: Prostate cancer: Screening. (2018).
  12. Huncharek M, et al. (2011). Smoking as a risk factor for prostate cancer: A meta-analysis of 24 prospective cohort studies.
  13. Keogh JWL, et al. (2012). Body composition, physical fitness, functional performance, quality of life, and fatigue benefits of exercise for prostate cancer patients: A systematic review. DOI:
  14. Nilsen TIL, et al. (2006). Recreational physical activity and risk of prostate cancer: A prospective population-based study in Norway (the HUNT study). DOI:
  15. Prostate cancer — Patient version. (n.d.).
  16. Prostate cancer screening draft recommendations. (2017).
  17. Risk factors for prostate cancer. (n.d.).
  18. Rodriguez C, et al. (2006). Body mass index, weight change, and risk of prostate cancer in the cancer prevention study II nutrition cohort. DOI:
  19. Tests for prostate cancer. (2017).
  20. What is cancer staging? (n.d.).
  21. What is prostate cancer? (2016).
  22. What is prostate cancer? (n.d.).

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