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What are the symptoms?

Early prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms. Even people diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer may have no symptoms. Symptoms such as difficulty passing urine are most often due to non-cancerous changes, such as benign prostate hyperplasia. If symptoms occur, they may include:

  • frequent or sudden need to urinate
  • blood in the urine or semen
  • a slow flow of urine
  • needing to get up at night to pass urine
  • feeling like your bladder is not empty after passing urine
  • unexplained weight loss
  • pain in bones, e.g. the neck, back, hips or pelvis.

These are not always symptoms of prostate cancer, but you should see your doctor if you are worried or the symptoms are ongoing.

Which health professionals will I see?

Your GP will arrange the first tests to assess your symptoms. If these tests do not rule out cancer, you will usually be referred to a specialist, who will arrange  further tests.

Prostate cancer is usually diagnosed by a urologist, who will talk to you about your surgical options. You will usually also see a radiation oncologist to discuss radiation therapy and you may be referred to a medical oncologist who will discuss drug treatments.

Your specialists will discuss treatment options with other health professionals at what is known as a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting. During and after treatment, you will see a range of health professionals who specialise in different aspects of your care.

GPassists you with treatment decisions and works in partnership with your specialists in providing ongoing care; may monitor PSA levels and administer treatment
urologisttreats diseases of the male and female urinary systems and the male reproductive system, including prostate cancer; performs surgery
radiation oncologisttreats cancer by prescribing and overseeing a course of radiation therapy
radiation therapistplans and delivers radiation therapy
medical oncologisttreats cancer with drug therapies such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy (systemic treatment)
endocrinologistdiagnoses, treats and manages hormonal disorders, including osteoporosis
cancer care coordinator, prostate cancer specialist nursecoordinate your care, liaise with other members of the MDT and support you and your family throughout treatment; care may also be coordinated by a clinical nurse consultant (CNC) or clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
nurseadministers drugs and provides care, information and support throughout management or treatment
continence nurseassesses bladder and bowel control, and helps you find ways to manage any changes
radiologistanalyses x-rays and scans; an interventional radiologist may also perform a biopsy guided by ultrasound or CT, and deliver some treatments
nuclear medicine specialistanalyses bone scans and PET scans and delivers radionuclide therapies
pathologistexamines cells and tissue samples to determine the type and extent of the cancer
continence physiotherapistprovides exercises to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder and bowel control
exercise physiologist, physiotherapistprescribe exercise to help people with medical conditions improve their overall health, fitness, strength and energy levels
occupational therapistassists in adapting your living and working environment to help you resume your usual activities after treatment
sex therapist, sexual health physicianhelp you and your partner with sexuality issues before and after treatment; an erectile dysfunction specialist can give advice about erection problems
psychologist, counsellor, psychiatristhelp you manage your emotional response to diagnosis and treatment; may also help with emotional issues affecting sexuality
social workerlinks you to support services and helps you with emotional, practical and financial issues

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This information is reviewed by

This information was last reviewed in March 2022 by the following expert content reviewers: A/Prof Ian Vela, Urologic Oncologist, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Queensland University of Technology, and Urocology, QLD; A/Prof Arun Azad, Medical Oncologist, Urological Cancers, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Nicholas Brook, Consultant Urological Surgeon, Royal Adelaide Hospital and A/Prof Surgery, The University of Adelaide, SA; Peter Greaves, Consumer; Graham Henry, Consumer; Clin Prof Nat Lenzo, Nuclear Physician and Specialist in Internal Medicine, Group Clinical Director, GenesisCare Theranostics, and Notre Dame University Australia, WA; Henry McGregor, Men’s Health Physiotherapist, Adelaide Men’s Health Physio, SA; Jessica Medd, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Department of Urology, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW; Dr Tom Shakespeare, Director, Radiation Oncology, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Lismore Public Hospitals, NSW; A/Prof David Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Daffodil Centre, Cancer Council NSW; Allison Turner, Prostate Cancer Specialist Nurse (PCFA), Canberra Region Cancer Centre, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Maria Veale, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council QLD; Michael Walkden, Consumer; Prof Scott Williams, Radiation Oncology Lead, Urology Tumour Stream, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Professor of Oncology, Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology, The University of Melbourne, VIC.