Initial Treatment Of Prostate Cancer By Stage
The stage of your cancer is one of the most important factors in choosing the best way to treat it. Prostate cancer is staged based on the extent of the cancer and the PSA level and Gleason score when it is first diagnosed.
For prostate cancers that haven’t spread , doctors also use risk groups to help determine treatment options. Risk groups range from very low risk to very high risk, with lower risk group cancers having a smaller chance of growing and spreading compared to those in higher risk groups.
Other factors, such as your age, overall health, life expectancy, and personal preferences are also taken into account when looking at treatment options. In fact, many doctors determine a mans possible treatment options based not just on the stage, but on the risk of cancer coming back after the initial treatment and on the mans life expectancy.
You might want to ask your doctor what factors he or she is considering when discussing your treatment options. Some doctors might recommend options that are different from those listed here.
Figure 2 Why Understaging May Occur
When the prostate is removed, a pathologist examines slices of the gland for evidence of cancer. A. Under a microscope, the pathologist can distinguish tiny tumors, consisting of clumps of visibly abnormal cells. B. With current imaging technology, it is not yet possible for a pathologist to identify micrometastases individual cancer cells shed from the primary tumor that have gone on to seed adjacent tissue. In this image, for example, cancer cells have already penetrated the capsule and migrated to adjacent tissue, even beyond the margin of tissue removed during surgery.
Individual prostate cancer cells can spread to more remote areas of the body in three ways . Whats more, they can do so without being detected with our current technology, essentially escaping under the radar. So its always possible even if you are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer that the cancer has already spread and will manifest in the coming years. How likely is it that an early-stage prostate cancer will become active without treatment? A small study provides some clues .
What Are Prostate Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Some prostate cancer treatments can affect the bladder, erectile nerves and sphincter muscle, which controls urination. Potential problems include:
- Incontinence: Some men experience urinary incontinence. You may leak urine when you cough or laugh, or you may feel an urgent need to use the bathroom even when your bladder isnt full. This problem can improve over the first six to 12 months without treatment.
- Erectile dysfunction : Surgery, radiation and other treatments can damage the erectile nerves and affect your ability to get or maintain an erection. Some men regain erectile function within a year or two . In the meantime, medications like sildenafil or tadalafil can help by increasing blood flow to the penis.
- Infertility: Treatments can affect your ability to produce or ejaculate sperm, resulting in male infertility. If you think you might want children in the future, you can preserve sperm in a sperm bank before you start treatments. After treatments, you may undergo sperm extraction. This procedure involves removing sperm directly from testicular tissue and implanting it into a womans uterus.
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Understanding Prostate Cancers Progression
To determine the appropriate treatment, doctors need to know how far the cancer has progressed, or its stage. A pathologist, the doctor trained in analyzing cells taken during a prostate biopsy, will provide two starting pointsthe cancers grade and Gleason score.
- Cancer grade: When the pathologist looks at prostate cancer cells, the most common type of cells will get a grade of 3 to 5. The area of cancer cells in the prostate will also be graded. The higher the grade, the more abnormal the cells.
- Gleason score: The two grades will be added together to get a Gleason score. This score tells doctors how likely the cancer is to grow and spread.
After a biopsy confirms prostate cancer, the patient may undergo additional tests to see whether it has spread through the blood or lymph nodes to other parts of the body. These tests are usually imaging studies and may include a bone scan, positron emission tomography scan or computed tomography scan.
If Treatment Does Not Work
Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for many people, advanced cancer may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment, including a hospital bed, can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
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What Tests Check For Prostate Cancer
Common tests to check for prostate cancer include:
- Digital rectal exam: Your doctor inserts a finger into your rectum and touches your prostate gland. The doctor feels the shape of the prostate gland and checks for any hard spots.
- PSA blood test: This blood test tells how much PSA is in your blood. Many men with prostate cancer have PSA levels that are higher than normal or that have gotten higher over time.
- A high PSA level does not always mean a man has prostate cancer. As men get older, their prostate gland may grow larger over time. This growth, and other health conditions, can cause a high PSA level in men who do not have prostate cancer.
If the test results are not normal, your doctor may recommend more tests, such as a biopsy. During a biopsy, the doctor uses a needle to take out a tiny piece or pieces of the prostate gland. An ultrasound probe may be used to guide the needle. Another doctor called a pathologist looks at the tissue under a microscope to check for cancer cells.
What If My Biopsy Shows Cancer
If the biopsy shows prostate cancer, your doctor will determine how likely your cancer is to grow quickly and spread. Sometimes, prostate cancer grows slowly over many years. But other times, it grows quickly.
Your doctor can use your PSA level, Gleason score, and tumor score to determine your risk level. The following pages give more information about Gleason score, T-score, and prostate cancer risk levels.
The Gleason score is a common scale used to determine how fast your prostate cancer is likely to grow. Gleason scores can range from 2 to 10, but most often range from 6 to 10. The higher the Gleason score, the more likely your cancer is to grow and spread.
The T-score tells how far your prostate cancer has grown.
- T1: The cancer is too small to be felt during a digital rectal exam or seen in an imaging test . The cancer is found from a biopsy done after a man has a high PSA level or has surgery for problems urinating. The cancer is only in the prostate gland.
- T2: The cancer can be felt during a digital rectal exam and may be seen in an imaging test. The cancer is still only in the prostate gland.
- T2a: The cancer is in one-fourth of the prostate gland .
- T2b: The cancer is in more than one-fourth of the prostate gland , but has not grown into the other side of the prostate gland.
- T2c: The cancer has grown into both sides of the prostate gland.
- Hormone therapy
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Stage 2 Prostate Cancer
In stage 2, the tumor is still confined to your prostate and hasnt spread to lymph nodes or other parts of your body. A doctor may or may not be able to feel the tumor during a prostate exam, and it may appear on ultrasound imaging. The survival rate is still near 100 percent.
The PSA score for stage 2 is less than 20 ng/mL.
Stage 2 cancer is further divided into three phases depending on the grade group and Gleason scores:
- Grade group: 1
- Gleason score: 6 or less
Mri With A Tesla 30 Magnet Age Of Friend
Speak with the urologist about prescribing a Tesla 3.0 MRI . This test is very effective in indicating if there is any nodule involvement, if there is involvement in one or two lobes, will show size of prostate, any evidence of extracapular extension, will stage the disease. An MRI with the 3.0 Tesla magnet, is the gold standard. There are certain major hospitals that have MRI machines with a 3.0 Tesla magnet. In my laymans opinion it is advisable to have such a test before any surgery or another active treatment which is a localized one. If the cancer is outside the prostate these type treatments may not be a best decision for treatment since additionally treatment will still be required, and side effects of various treatments are cummulative.
The side effects of surgeries are basically greater than other active treatment types. Surgery is less successful among older men than younger so for example a doctor may perform an excellent surgery for a 50 year old, who will have no side effects and the exact same surgery for a 70 year old who will have side effects.
How old is your friend?
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Treatments May Have Side Effects
The treatment options for early-stage prostate cancer fall into three broad categories: surgery, radiation therapy, and active surveillance. Your doctor will make a treatment recommendation based on your numbers as well as a mathematical tool known as a nomogram, which can help you and your doctor better assess how extensive your cancer is likely to be and whether it is likely to become active in the future.
Yet clinical studies have not provided any evidence that one treatment is better than another or that any treatment at all actually prolongs life: The average 5-, 10-, and 15-year survival rates are virtually the same for all treatment options in early-stage prostate cancer, including active surveillance. Its also important to understand that no mathematical model is foolproof, and some men diagnosed with early-stage, locally confined disease will later find out that their cancer was more extensive than originally believed.
If you are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, you have a number of treatments to choose from. A brief comparison is listed in Table 2.
How Prostate Cancer Spreads
- The cells escape into the bloodstream, initially by invading small blood vessels around the tumor, then traveling to larger blood vessels that enable the cells to circulate around the body .
- The cells are filtered through the bodys lymph system although some are captured in lymph nodes, others may travel elsewhere in the body.
- The cells migrate along the length of a nerve, escaping from the prostate into adjacent soft tissue .
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What Is A Grade Group
In 2014, the International Society of Urological Pathology released supplementary guidance and a revised prostate cancer grading system, called the Grade Groups.
The Grade Group system is simpler, with just five grades, 1 through 5.
*Risk Groups are defined by the Grade Group of the cancer and other measures, including PSA, clinical tumor stage , PSA density, and number of positive biopsy cores.
Many hospitals report both the Gleason score and the Grade Group, but there may be hospitals that still report only the old Gleason system.
Physical Emotional And Social Effects Of Cancer
Cancer and its treatment cause physical symptoms and side effects, as well as emotional, social, and financial effects. Managing all of these effects is called palliative care or supportive care. It is an important part of your care that is included along with treatments intended to slow, stop, or eliminate the cancer.
Palliative care focuses on improving how you feel during treatment by managing symptoms and supporting patients and their families with other, non-medical needs. Any person, regardless of age or type and stage of cancer, may receive this type of care. And it often works best when it is started right after a cancer diagnosis. People who receive palliative care along with treatment for the cancer often have less severe symptoms, better quality of life, and report that they are more satisfied with treatment.
Palliative treatments vary widely and often include medication, nutritional changes, relaxation techniques, emotional and spiritual support, and other therapies. You may also receive palliative treatments similar to those meant to get rid of the cancer, such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy.
Before treatment begins, talk with your doctor about the goals of each treatment in the treatment plan. You should also talk about the possible side effects of the specific treatment plan and palliative care options.
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British Columbia Specific Information
Prostate cancer is a cancer of the prostate gland, which is a gland that produces the milky liquid found in semen. Patients with low-risk prostate cancer have a 10-year cancer survival rate of over 99%.
You are considered a low-risk patient if you have a PSA value that is equal or less than 10 nanograms per millilitre , a Gleason score that is equal or less than 6, and your cancer stage is T1c/T2a. PSA is your prostate specific antigen measured by a blood test, the Gleason score indicates how aggressive the cancer is by looking at tissue biopsy results, and the cancer stage describes how much the cancer has spread.
Active surveillance has been developed to allow for careful management of men with low-risk prostate cancer. For more information, visit BC Cancer Agency – Prostate.
Top of the pageDecision Point
You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor’s recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.
What Causes Prostate Cancer
Experts arent sure why some cells in the prostate gland become cancerous . Genetics appear to play a role. For example:
- Youre two to three times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father, brother or son has the disease.
- Inherited mutated breast cancer genes and other gene mutations contribute to a small number of prostate cancers.
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Cancer May Spread From Where It Began To Other Parts Of The Body
- Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
- Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if prostate cancer spreads to the bone, the cancer cells in the bone are actually prostate cancer cells. The disease is metastatic prostate cancer, not bone cancer.
What Does It Mean To Have A Gleason Score Of 6 7 8 Or 9
Because grades 1 and 2 are not often used for biopsies, the lowest Gleason score of a cancer found on a prostate biopsy is 6. These cancers may be called well differentiated or low-grade and are likely to be less aggressive that is, they tend to grow and spread slowly.
Cancers with Gleason scores of 8 to 10 may be called poorly differentiated or high-grade. These cancers are likely to grow and spread more quickly, although a cancer with a Gleason score of 9-10 is twice as likely to grow and spread quickly as a cancer with a Gleason score of 8.
Cancers with a Gleason score of 7 can either be Gleason score 3+4=7 or Gleason score 4+3=7:
- Gleason score 3+4=7 tumors still have a good prognosis , although not as good as a Gleason score 6 tumor.
- A Gleason score 4+3=7 tumor is more likely to grow and spread than a 3+4=7 tumor, yet not as likely as a Gleason score 8 tumor.
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Localized Prostate Cancer: Treatment Options
STEPHEN BRAWLEY, MD, PhD RAVINDER MOHAN, MD, PhD and CHRISTOPHER D. NEIN, MD, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Portsmouth, Virginia
Am Fam Physician. 2018 Jun 15 97:798-805.
Patient information: See related handout on prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is the third most common cause of cancer-related death in U.S. men, with an estimated 161,000 cases and 26,700 deaths in 2017.1,2 In the United States, prostate cancer will be diagnosed in one out of seven men in his lifetime. However, most cases are localized, and only one in 39 men will die from the disease.3 Prostate cancer incidence and mortality are higher in black men.3
WHAT IS NEW ON THIS TOPIC
The 2014 International Society of Urological Pathology consensus conference established the Gleason grade group system. Gleason grade group 1 is associated with lower risk.
A randomized controlled trial of 1,643 men with clinically localized prostate cancer found no difference in prostate cancerspecific mortality among active surveillance, radical prostatectomy, and external beam radiation therapy over 10 years. Surgery and radiation therapy were associated with lower incidences of disease progression than active surveillance.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Recommended treatment options for localized prostate cancer, including active surveillance, are based on clinical stage, pathologic grade, prostate-specific antigen level, and comorbidity-adjusted life expectancy.
SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE