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What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer Spreading?

By Sylvie Tremblay, MSc ; Updated August 14, 2017

The male prostate, a gland located near the large intestine, colon, urethra and urinary bladder, is part of the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer often develops within the glandular tissue of the prostate and often forms a cancerous tumor. If undetected, the cancer continues to grow and begins to spread to neighboring tissues and organs, causing a number of side effects.

Urinary Symptoms

A common symptom that prostate cancer is spreading is the development of urinary symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Prostate cancer growth near the bladder can place excess strain on the bladder and urethra, causing patients to feel the frequent or constant need to urinate. As the prostate cancer spreads deeper into the urethra and bladder, cancer cells may begin to disrupt the normal flow of urine out of the body. Patients may notice dribbling during urination and feel that they are unable to empty their bladder completely. Additionally, tissue damage due to cancer growth in the urinary tract can lead to blood in the urine. Men experiencing urinary difficulties should consult with a physician to address the possibility of prostate cancer.

Bowel Pain and Obstructions

As prostate cancer spreads away from the prostate gland, men with prostate cancer may develop cancer growth in the bowel and colon. Prostate cancer cells can grow in the lining of the color, leading to the formation of polyps--abnormal growths in towards the center of the colon. These growths can cause pain during bowel movements, according to Medline Plus, as the contents of the bowel place additional pressure on surrounding nerves. Advanced spreading of prostate cancer can eventually obstruct the movement of digested food through the bowel, leading to bowel problems and obstructions. Men with bowel obstructions due to prostate cancer experience excruciating pain and require immediate medical attention.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Common sites affected by the spreading of prostate cancer are the lymph nodes within the pelvis and abdomen. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped tissues that house lymphcytes--white blood cells that make up a part of the immune system. These nodes are located throughout the body, with several lymph nodes around the prostate gland. During the spreading of prostate cancer, cancer cells can migrate into and colonize the lymph nodes, leading to lymph node swelling and matting. As a result, men with invasive prostate cancer may experience chronic pelvic or abdominal pain as the swollen lymph nodes press against nerves within the pelvis and abdomen. Patients with unexplained persistent pain should seek medical attention.

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