Prostate cancer is a leading cause of cancer in men, second only to skin cancer, reports the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Aggressive prostate cancer grows quickly and spreads throughout the body at a faster rate than slow-growing cancers. Most men with prostate cancer experience little or no symptoms until the disease has begun to spread or metastasize in other parts of the body, explains the Merck Medical Manual.
Urinary side effects are the most common side effects of aggressive prostate cancer, explains the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Men with prostate cancer often find it difficult to begin urinating, a condition known as urinary hesitancy. While urinating, the flow or stream may start and stop or seem weak. These symptoms occur due to a narrowing of the urethra caused by the enlargement of the tumor in the prostate. Dribbling after urinating and experiencing a more frequent or intense urge to urinate are also common. The latter is especially true at night when men with aggressive prostate cancer may rise frequently to urinate. It is also possible to experience pain upon urination or notice blood in the urine, although this is less common than other symptoms.
Sexual symptoms also affect some men with aggressive prostate cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. Difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection sometimes occurs or they feel pain upon ejaculation. Men may also notice a red tinge to their semen. This indicates the presence of blood, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Once aggressive prostate cancer becomes more advanced, men sometimes develop digestive side effects. Some patients lose weight without making any changes to their diet or increasing their exercise, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Others report pain or discomfort in the abdomen that feels similar to gas. Pain while passing a bowel movement is also possible.
When aggressive prostate cancer spreads to the bones, musculoskeletal symptoms may begin, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. Pain in the lower back, thighs, hips and backs of the upper legs frequently occur in such circumstances. The pain is often relentless and becomes worse over time. Swelling in the legs and easy fractures of the bones are also possible, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Aggressive prostate cancer may also spread to the brain or spinal cord, resulting in neurological symptoms, reports the Merck Medical Manual. Men may develop headaches or feel unusually weak. Confusion or forgetfulness sometimes occurs, and cancer in the brain poses a risk for seizures. If the cancer is present in the spinal cord, men are likely to develop numbness or tingling in their limbs.
As aggressive prostate cancer begins to spread, men commonly develop anemia, according to the Merck Medical Manual. Blood tests in anemic patients reveal a shortage of oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Men with the condition may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, difficulty concentrating and chest pain.