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Prostate Cancer : Symptoms
Western Medicine Chinese Medicine

Prostate cancer is famous for being silent: that is, causing no symptoms able to warn of its presence. Many are diagnosed during a routine physical examination or after a screening blood test known as a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) has been done. When symptoms do appear, they are usually similar to those caused by enlargement of the prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy-described in the definition section).

These include:

Increased urinary frequency, especially at night
Difficulty starting urination
Difficulty passing urine
Pain on passing urine

Symptoms more suggestive of prostate cancer include:

Blood in the urine
Pain in the pelvis and spine
Weight loss
Night sweats
Severe tiredness


Modern TCM practitioners mostly follow western theories when assessing prostate cancer symptoms. Initially there may be no symptoms present at all. When the prostate cancer enlarges to a level where it blocks urinary outflow, dribbling urination, frequent urination with prickling pain or pain radiating to the lower abdomen (strangury) and urine retention are commonly seen. Haematuria (blood in the urine) usually appears at a later stage of disease involvement.

The presence of damp heat in the body or overstrain strangury can cause thirst with a lack of desire to drink, constipation, burning and stabbing pain during urination, or dribbling urine. Overstrain strangury means the body is overworking and makes the strangury symptoms more severe.

Stagnation of qi flow and blood stasis are usually present when urine retention occurs. (See causes section.) Symptoms related to these conditions include lower abdominal distension, localized pain, difficultly urinating or inability to urinate.

Haematuria can be a manifestation of hyperactive and excessive ministerial fire. Related symptoms arising from excessive ministerial fire include face blushing, excessive thirst, feeling annoyed or distracted, insomnia, urinary hesitancy and pain on urination.

Other signs that may be present with prostate cancer:

The tongue signs:

Individuals with damp heat usually have a red tongue with yellow and greasy fur. Those with blood stasis have a dark tongue with pinpoint bruises, and those who suffer from exhausted kidney yin have a red or deep red tongue without fur.

The pulse signs:

A rolling and rapid pulse is present in people with damp heat problems. Individuals with blood stasis often have a hesitant pulse, and those with kidney-yin exhaustion have a soft, thready and weak pulse.