Prostate cancer symptoms

Early prostate cancer rarely causes symptoms. Even with advanced prostate cancer there may be no symptoms. Where symptoms do occur, they are often due to non-cancerous conditions, such as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

Symptoms of advanced prostate cancer may include unexplained weight loss, feeling the frequent or sudden need to urinate, or pain in the lower back/pelvic area or sciatica.

These are not always a sign of prostate cancer, but you should speak with a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)

Men over the age of 50 often experience urinary problems. An otherwise normal prostate may grow, which can change patterns of urine flow. This enlargement is called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and is generally a normal part of ageing − it’s not cancer.

BPH may cause the following Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS):

  • weak urine flow
  • frequent urination, especially at night
  • an urgent need to urinate
  • difficulty starting to urinate
  • leakage after urinating
  • incomplete emptying of the bladder

These symptoms may also occur in locally advanced prostate cancer. If you are concerned and/or are experiencing any of these symptoms, speak to your doctor.

This information was last reviewed in April 2016
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Talk or email someone about symptoms or dealing with a diagnosis

Looking for transport or accommodation?
Help with getting to tests or finding a place to sleep


Cancer information

Dealing with the diagnosis
Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope

What is cancer?
How cancer starts and spreads

View our publications
Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends