Table : Predictors Of Biochemical Recurrence At Time Of Diagnosis
Although a number of clinical factors contribute to your risk of relapse after treatment, the parameters below provide a simpler assessment of your chances of biochemical recurrence, based on your clinical profile at the time of diagnosis. For more sophisticated estimates, based on specific risk factors, see Figures 1 through 3.
Low risk Gleason score less than or equal to 6and Cancer stage T2c or more
Factors That Increase Risk Of Recurrence
There are many different factors that can help you determine what your risk of recurrence is. Your doctor will go over these during the initial course of treatment, therefore stressing the importance of follow up appointments.
One factor is the involvement of your lymph nodes. If your cancer has metastasized to your lymph nodes, recurrence is more likely. Similarly, the larger the tumor, the more likely that you are to experience complications and rates of recurrence. If the tumor is intertwined or growing into other areas of your body, this also increases risk. The Gleason score is a system of grading your prostate cancer based on severity and localization. The higher the grade, the more likely youll experience recurrence. Finally, the stage of prostate cancer affects recurrence rates. When caught early, recurrence is not as likely as cancers that are in stage three or four.
Cancer can be extremely aggressive and will change your life forever. Make sure that youre doing everything you can to avoid potential problems. Eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Strengthening your immune system is a great way to reduce your risk of recurrence.
Increased Risk Of Bladder Cancer
Now she has taken the data from the 860 Norwegian and Swedish prostate patients one step further, to see how many participants got other types of cancer afterwards.
Radiation can increase the risk of other types of cancer. And when we followed up on patients an average of 12 years after they had been treated, we saw a 2.5-fold increased risk of bladder cancer in men who had received radiation, Aksnessæther says.
The researchers also looked at the risk of getting other types of cancer, but found that other cancers did not increase in men who were treated with radiation.
In another study from June 2019 of patients who had received radiation to the prostate, however, I found a possible increase in both bladder cancer and rectal cancer. Other studies also suggest this. It is possible that our source material was too small to show this, Aksnessæther says.
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Treatment By Stage Of Prostate Cancer
Different treatments may be recommended for each stage of prostate cancer. Your doctor will recommend a specific treatment plan for you based on the cancers stage and other factors. Detailed descriptions of each type of treatment are provided earlier on this same page. Clinical trials may also be a treatment option for each stage.
Early-stage prostate cancer
Early-stage prostate cancer usually grows very slowly and may take years to cause any symptoms or other health problems, if it ever does at all. As a result, active surveillance or watchful waiting may be recommended. Radiation therapy or surgery may also be suggested, as well as treatment in clinical trials. For those with a higher Gleason score, the cancer may be faster growing, so radical prostatectomy and radiation therapy are often recommended. Your doctor will consider your age and general health before recommending a treatment plan.
ASCO, the American Urological Association, American Society of Radiation Oncology, and the Society of Urologic Oncology recommend that patients with high-risk early-stage prostate cancer that has not spread to other areas of the body should receive radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy with hormonal therapy as standard treatment options.
Locally advanced prostate cancer
Watchful waiting may be considered for older adults who are not expected to live for a long time and whose cancer is not causing symptoms or for those who have another, more serious illness.
Radiation A Contributing Cause
Aksnessæther believes the increased risk of bladder cancer may have several causes.
Radiation to this area of the body is definitely a contributing cause. But we also know that patients who get radiation live longer and the increased life expectancy itself gives them a greater likelihood that they will develop another type of cancer, Aksnessæther says.
Patients who received both radiation and hormone therapy lived an average of 15.3 years after treatment, while those who received hormone therapy only lived for 12.8 years after treatment. The patients were 67 years on average when they were included in the study.
Some of the patients who had initially been given only hormone treatment were offered the opportunity to receive radiation therapy afterwards as it became clear that this resulted in better survival.
“This group, which received so-called salvage radiation treatment, actually had the best survival of all, and the lowest risk of secondary cancer,” says the researcher.
The researchers believe there are two reasons for this.
It took about seven years before these patients received radiation treatment, which means that we dont have such a long follow-up time after the radiation. In addition, this was probably a select group, meaning a resourceful and healthy group of men, since they were offered new treatment. Thus, they are basically more likely to live longer than the others, she says.
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Treating Prostate Cancer That Doesnt Go Away Or Comes Back After Treatment
If your prostate-specific antigen blood level shows that your prostate cancer has not been cured or has come back after the initial treatment, further treatment can often still be helpful. Follow-up treatment will depend on where the cancer is thought to be and what treatment you’ve already had. Imaging tests such as CT, MRI, or bone scans may be done to get a better idea about where the cancer is.
Screening For Prostate Cancer
Men should undergo yearly screening for prostate cancer after a discussion with their physician beginning at age 40-50. This recommendation is based on guidelines from several cancer organizations. This include the American Cancer Society. Evidence shows improvement in outcomes with early detection and treatment. If you have a strong family history of cancer or a known genetic mutation, consult your doctor.
Prostate screening tests includes both a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen test. During the DRE the doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to examine the prostate. The PSA screening test involves taking a blood sample to measure an antigen in the blood specific to prostate. PSA testing is a more accurate and reliable test than DRE, so those that refuse DRE should still receive a PSA test for screening.
Work with your doctor to define a screening plan. This is especially important for those at high-risk or those experiencing urinary or sexual dysfunction symptoms.
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Treating Stage Iii Colon Cancer
Stage III colon cancers have spread to nearby lymph nodes, but they have not yet spread to other parts of the body.
Surgery to remove the section of the colon with the cancer along with nearby lymph nodes, followed by adjuvant chemo is the standard treatment for this stage.
For chemo, either the FOLFOX or CapeOx regimens are used most often, but some patients may get 5-FU with leucovorin or capecitabine alone based on their age and health needs.
For some advanced colon cancers that cannot be removed completely by surgery, neoadjuvant chemotherapy given along with radiation might be recommended to shrink the cancer so it can be removed later with surgery. For some advanced cancers that have been removed by surgery, but were found to be attached to a nearby organ or have positive margins , adjuvant radiation might be recommended. Radiation therapy and/or chemo may be options for people who arent healthy enough for surgery.
Cancer That Clearly Has Spread
If the cancer has spread outside the prostate, it will most likely go to nearby lymph nodes first, and then to bones. Much less often the cancer will spread to the liver or other organs.
When prostate cancer has spread to other parts of the body , hormone therapy is probably the most effective treatment. But it isnt likely to cure the cancer, and at some point it might stop working. Usually the first treatment is a luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist, LHRH antagonist, or orchiectomy, sometimes along with an anti-androgen drug or abiraterone. Another option might be to get chemotherapy along with the hormone therapy. Other treatments aimed at bone metastases might be used as well.
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Are There Side Effects Of The Combination Approach
There is a slightly higher chance that patients who receive the combined therapy will have rectal irritation or urinary side effects, both of which are common with any radiation treatment given to the prostate. But at MSK, we routinely use sophisticated planning techniques that help us reduce the dose given to normal tissues such as the rectum, bladder, and urethra, lessening the chances of side effects and complications.
In addition, at MSK, we routinely use a rectal spacer gel, which we inject between the prostate and the rectum while the patient is under mild anesthesia, to create a buffer between these two tissues. By creating this space, we can further reduce the dose of radiation that the rectum is exposed to. This leads to fewer side effects for the patient. The rectal spacer gel is biodegradable and after a few months dissolves on its own within the body, causing no harm or long-term effects.
Questions Patients Might Be Reluctant To Ask About Radiation Therapy
Getting a recommendation for radiation therapyas part of cancer treatment comes with a learning curve and a lot ofquestions. Morethan half of all patients with cancer receive radiation therapy at somepoint in their care, and patients and their families want to know how radiationworks and how it might affect their lives during and after treatment.
Still, we know some patients feel nervousasking questions about their cancer therapy. In a word: Dont. Asking questionshelps your doctors provide the best care.
Radiationoncologists at the UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center areleaders in the field, conducting research studies and pioneering advancedradiation techniques such as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy ,brachytherapy, and novel combinations of radiotherapy with chemotherapy.
Were always happy to share the most currentradiation knowledge with our patients. So, here are answers to five of the mostcommon questions patients have said they were nervous to ask but were gladthey did.
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Focal Therapy For Prostate Cancer
With recent advances in MRI and targeted biopsy, we are better able to locate the exact area of prostate cancer. Men who do not have an enlarged prostate, who have prostate cancer that is detected only in a single region of the prostate and have intermediate grade cancer can be a candidate for focal therapy. This type of therapy treats only the cancerous tissue and spares the normal prostate, thereby preserving urinary and sexual function
Here at UCLA we commonly use cryotherapy or HIFU to focally treat prostate cancer. Given that this is a relatively new form of treatment, we have established rigorous post-treatment protocols using MRI and biopsies to ensure that the cancer has been adequately treated.
What Can Be Done
If your prostate cancer has recurred, your doctor will likely order some imaging tests to better determine where in your body the cancer has returned. Bone scans, CT scans, and MRIs are the most common tests ordered to find where in the body prostate cancer has recurred.
Many treatment options are available for prostate cancer that has returned. The one that you and your physician choose depends on individual factors such as what treatment you have already received, where in the body your prostate cancer has returned, how your cancer has spread, your general health, and your age.
If your prostate cancer is thought to have recurred in only a small area and has not spread to other areas of the body, then radiation therapy to that area may be an option.
If your prostate cancer has most likely spread to multiple areas of the body, then hormonal therapy would likely be an option. Chemotherapy can also be used when the cancer has spread to multiple sites.
Geller J. Basis for Hormonal Management of Advanced Prostate Cancer. Cancer. 1993 Feb 1 71:1039-45.
Kupelian PA, Buchsbaum JC, Elshaikh M, et al. Factors Affecting Recurrence Rates After Prostatectomy or Radiotherapy in Localized Prostate Carcinoma Patients With Biopsy Gleason Score 8 or Above. Cancer. 2002 Dec 1 95:2302-7.
Vickers AJ, Bianco FJ Jr, Boorjian S, et al. Does a Delay Between Diagnosis and Radical Prostatectomy Increase the Risk of Disease Recurrence? Cancer. 2006 Feb 1 106:576-80.
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Are Other Tests Needed
A doctor will not generally recommend further treatment after a single PSA test result. They will typically monitor a persons PSA levels over time to see whether they are rising.
PSA testing is only one way to check a persons health after having a prostatectomy. A doctor may use an imaging test to look for a tumor or a growing number of cancer cells.
They are also likely to ask the individual about any possible symptoms that could suggest that prostate cancer has returned.
How To Handle A Relapse After Treatment For Prostate Cancer
Am I going to die? This is the first question a patient usually asks me when a follow-up blood test reveals that his prostate-specific antigen level has risen after he has already undergone treatment for prostate cancer . The fear is understandable: When PSA levels rise to a certain threshold after prostate cancer treatment, the patient has suffered what is known technically as a biochemical recurrence, sometimes also referred to as a biochemical relapse or stage D1.5 disease. Whatever term is used, it means that prostate cancer remains within the prostate after radiation therapy, that it survived outside the excised area after radical prostatectomy, or that it has reappeared in metastatic form in other tissues and organs. In most cases the cancer remains at a microscopic level, and many years will pass before any physical evidence of it is detectable on a clinical exam or any abnormalities are seen on a bone scan or CT scan.
Thats usually of small comfort to the patient whose PSA has risen. Its emotionally traumatic to go through treatment for prostate cancer, thinking it is cured, and then learn that it might have come back. For many men, its as if theyre dealing with another diagnosis of cancer, except this time its much worse because there is less likelihood of getting cured. A mans confidence and sense of safety may be shattered, especially because the popular misconception is that when prostate cancer recurs, it is deadly.
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What Is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy And What Advantages Does It Offer
Traditionally, we deliver external beam radiation in 45 to 48 sessions over a span of ten weeks, using very sophisticated computer-based planning and enhanced imaging techniques and tumor tracking during the treatment. This is called image-guided IMRT and it is the current standard of care.
But there is increasing interest in giving this radiation in shorter courses of treatment. Many of the people we care for have a type of radiation therapy called MSK PreciseTM. MSK Precise is a form of SBRT that can be given in five sessions instead of the usual 45 to 50. MSK has been doing this for the past nine years, and the results in the several hundred people whove been treated have been excellent so far. The treatment is very well tolerated, with outcomes that are at least equivalent to and possibly better than the standard ten weeks of treatment. Because of its superior precision, MSK Precise has less side effects than more conventional radiation techniques, with extremely low rates of incontinence and rectal problems. The sexual side effects are low and similar to what is experienced with conventional external radiation techniques. And of course, its much more convenient for patients.
For patients with more-advanced tumors, we are completing a phase II trial in which were combining sophisticated brachytherapy approaches with MSK Precise. This kind of combination of dose-intense or escalated radiation may end up being a very effective regimen.
How Common Is Recurrence
The recurrence of prostate cancer depends on when it was caught and treated the first time. If your doctor was able to remove the cancer while it was still confined in the prostate gland, your chances of recurrence are fairly low. If your cancer spread before treatment, such as in the case of about 10% of men, recurrence is more likely to occur. Recurrence, therefore, occurs if not all of the cancer cells were treated the first time or if the cancer was more advanced than originally believed.
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Is Prostate Cancer Curable
Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men, second only to skin cancer. Learning that one has any type of cancer isnt easy, but the first question on most patients minds after diagnosis is, is prostate cancer curable?
The short answer is yes, prostate cancer can be cured, when detected and treated early. The vast majority of prostate cancer cases are discovered in the early stages, making the tumors more likely to respond to treatment. Treatment doesnt always have to mean surgery or chemotherapy, either. Non-invasive radiation therapy can effectively treat prostate cancer in the case of Pasadena CyberKnife, radiosurgery treatment generally takes less than a week, and you can typically resume your normal activities the same day you receive treatment.