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A ‘dull ache’ or ‘stabbing sensation’ in the bones could signal prostate cancer – see a GP

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland in males that produces a thick, white fluid that gets mixed with sperm to create semen. It is located below the bladder, in front of the rectum and surrounds the tube that empties urine from the bladder. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK, affecting around one in eight in their lifetime.

Like any disease, the sooner you spot symptoms the sooner you can seek treatment.

Consultant urologist at Spire Parkway Hospital in Birmingham, Alan Doherty, shared some of the lesser known signs of the cancer to look for.

Speaking with Express.co.uk, he said: “When prostate cancer spreads, it often affects nearby bones, which can cause pain and tenderness in these bones.

“Not all men with cancer in their bones will experience bone pain, but those who do may experience different symptoms.

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“Some men describe it as a dull ache or a stabbing sensation, and some liken it to a toothache but in the bones.

“For some the pain is near constant and for others intermittent. In some cases it gets worse with movement and makes the area tender to touch.

“How intense the pain is varies and may depend on where the affected bone is.”

Early symptoms

As many people are aware, the early symptoms that something is wrong with the prostate often involve toilet habits.

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Mr Doherty explained: “The main early signs of prostate cancer all revolve around urinating.

“You may find it difficult to urinate, need to urinate more often (often during the night), have a weak flow of urine and feel as if your bladder isn’t completely empty even after you’ve urinated.

“However, it is important to note that the signs of prostate cancer are also shared by many other, less-serious conditions of the prostate.

“For example benign prostate enlargement, common in older men, can cause similar symptoms.

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“A painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation, as well as blood in semen and urine could also indicate that a person has prostate cancer.”

How do you check for prostate cancer?

In the UK, there is no national screening programme for prostate cancer.

But if there are signs that you may have it, your doctor will perform several tests to check for prostate cancer.

“Your doctor will ask for a urine sample to rule out infection and a blood sample to check for levels of a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is often raised by prostate cancer,” Mr Doherty said.

“They will also perform a physical examination called a prostate exam. This involves gently inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into your back passage (rectum) to feel for any changes in your prostate, for example, changes in shape, size and texture.

“Your doctor may also recommend an MRI scan of your prostate to help detect any abnormal growths.”

However, none of these tests can provide a definitive diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Collection of a tissue sample (biopsy) from your prostate for analysis in a lab is the only way to confirm the presence of prostate cancer.

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