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Advanced prostate cancer can cause any of the following urinary problems. Select any of the possible problems to find out more about them.

If the cancer is pressing on your urethra it might cause problems emptying your bladder fully (urinary retention). It can also be caused by treatments for prostate cancer or other things.

You might be offered:

  • a catheter to drain the urine from the bladder
  • drugs called alpha-blockers to relax the muscles
  • an operation called a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) to remove the area of the prostate pressing on the urethra. 

Read our How to manage urinary problems guide for more information on ways to manage if you have urinary retention.

This is sometimes called urinary incontinence. Cancer can grow into the bladder and the muscles that control urination. This can make them weaker and could mean you leak urine or need to urinate urgently. It can also be caused by treatments for prostate cancer or other things.

You might be offered:

  • absorbent pads and pants to soak up any leaks
  • pelvic floor muscle exercises to strengthen your muscles 
  • urinary sheaths, a type of external catheter
  • medicines called anti-cholinergics to help to reduce frequency, urgency and leaks
  • a catheter to drain the urine from the bladder
  • surgery.

Read our How to manage urinary problems guide for more information on ways to manage if you leak urine.

This may be caused by bleeding from the prostate, caused by the cancer. You might find this alarming, but remember it can usually be controlled.

If you have blood in your urine, you might be able to have radiotherapy to stop the bleeding. You might also need to stop taking medicines that stop the blood clotting, such as aspirin or warfarin. But speak to your doctor or nurse before you stop taking any drugs.

Prostate cancer may block the tubes that carry the urine from the kidneys into the bladder (the ureters). This can cause problems with how well your kidneys work.

If you have kidney problems you might be offered:

  • a tube put into the kidney to drain urine into a bag outside your body (nephrostomy)
  • a tube (called a stent) put inside the ureters to allow urine to flow from the kidney to the bladder
  • radiotherapy to shrink the cancer and reduce the blockage.

You might have other urinary problems caused by your cancer, treatment, or other things. For example, a urine infection might cause pain when you urinate.