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Can You Live 20 Years With Prostate Cancer

Stages Of Prostate Cancer

Life Expectancy with Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

In order to determine the stage of a patients prostate cancer, most doctors start by using the TNM staging system, which helps describe different aspects of the cancers growth.

  • T the T category measures the size and extent of the Tumor
  • N the N category measures whether and how far the cancer has spread to the Lymph Nodes
  • M the M category whether the cancer has spread to other organs in the body (a process called Metastasis

The score for each of these categories is determined based on a pre-determined set of criteria. Your doctor cannot feel or see the tumor with a score of T1. A score of T3 means that the tumor has begun to grow outside of the prostate.

After calculating the TNM categories, doctors will combine the TNM score with the patients Gleason score and PSA levels assigning of a specific stage to the patients cancer.

Prostate cancer prognosis and survival rates can help give patients an idea of their chances of surviving the disease based on the stage and time of diagnosis. While some patients may find this information helpful, others may not want to know.

What Happens When Prostate Cancer Is Left Untreated

While most men undergo some form of treatment for their prostate cancer, some men today choose to not be treated for their prostate cancer. Instead, they may choose to have their healthcare providers monitor their cancer.

Known as active surveillance, it is common when the cancer is expected to grow slowly based on biopsy results, confined to the prostate, not causing any symptoms, and/or small. In active surveillance, healthcare providers will initiate cancer treatment only if cancer starts growing.

Others men may choose to not undergo cancer treatment because of a short life expectancy or other serious medical problems. They may feel that the risks or side effects of cancer treatment outweigh their potential benefits.

This option is certainly OK and reasonable in the right circumstancesrequiring a careful and thoughtful discussion with your healthcare provider and family.

Should I Make Any Lifestyle Changes Including In My Diet Or Physical Activity

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and staying physically active, can help your overall health. These lifestyle changes can also have a positive effect for men with bone metastases, Tagawa says. Both diet and exercise, he says, are things that are under a mans direct control.

A healthy lifestyle can help you better manage side effects from treatment as well. Try setting small but realistic goals for yourself when it comes to eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise.

While no single food is likely to have a benefit for prostate cancer, smart food choices may help you feel better day to day. Start by cutting out foods high in sugar, saturated fat, and added flavorings and preservatives.

If youre not sure which healthy foods to choose, ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian. This specialist can help you develop a meal plan that includes foods that offer the best chance of slowing the cancers growth and keeping you as healthy as possible.

As an oncologist, Tagawa says he concentrates on treating the cancer itself, but hes aware that many of the men he sees with advanced prostate cancer are older and more likely than younger men to have health problems that can benefit from diet and exercise.

And if youre on hormone therapy, talk to your doctor about investing in some weights or elastic resistance bands to support your bone strength too.

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General Prostate Cancer Survival Rate

According to the American Cancer Society:

  • The relative 5-year survival rate is nearly 100%
  • The relative 10-year survival rate is 98%
  • The 15-year relative survival rate is 91%

Note: Relative survival rate means the percentage of patients who live amount of years after their initial diagnosis.

Keep in mind, however, that because the compiled list figures are of cancers diagnosed up to 15 years ago, you may have an even greater chance of survival than these indicate due to advances in prostate cancer treatment technology

Survival By Disease Progression

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The extent prostate cancer has progressed can influence survival rates.

Prostate-specific antigen is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland by normal and malignant cells. In men with prostate cancer, blood levels of PSA are often elevated.

Doctors can use PSA as a marker to better understand the progression of prostate cancer and the resulting prognosis.

One way doctors assess the progression of the disease is through PSA doubling time. This refers to the number of months it takes for PSA to double.

One study suggests a short doubling time means a poorer prognosis for patients with stage IV prostate cancer. Median survival was 16.5 months for those with a PSA doubling time lower than 45 days compared with 26 months for patients with a longer PSA doubling time.

Whether or not the cancer has metastasized and spread to other areas of the body outside the prostate can also influence survival. In distant or stage IV prostate cancer, when cancer has spread from the prostate to other organs like the liver or lungs, the five-year survival rate is 31% compared with localized cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of nearly 100%.

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Reclaiming My Lifeand Helping Others Do The Same

Ron Scolamiero and his wife, Laurie, with two of their sons, Nick and Michael

This went on until 2012, when my oncologist said he was part of a clinical trial for prostate cancer patients like me living with non-metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. I was lucky in that my doctor was the lead physician on the second phase of this trial. After I began the treatment, my PSA levels held steady, and there was no evidence of the cancer spreading.

Since then, Ive had two tumors appear where my prostate used to beand surgeries to remove them, which have resulted in a whole lot of difficulty with my ability to urinatebut no tumors have spread throughout my body. I have continued taking the drug, and I felt incredibly grateful when it was approved by the FDA.

Im 73 now, a father of five sons and grandfather of three. Most days I dont even think I have cancer, even though I still take my pills every morning. Thanks in large part to my wife, Laurie, I have managed to live my life as if I didnt have this disease. And even though it is always lurking in the back of our minds, we dont let it get to the forefront to take over our lives.

What is at the forefront for me is doing whatever I can to help other men facing a prostate cancer diagnosis. Ive come a long way since those early days of shame, traveling two towns over to get my prostate cancer mailings.

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Surgical procedures to remove the diseased prostate are usually necessary. Surgical procedures are not always necessary. If the disease is caused by bacterial infections, a doctor can treat the symptoms using alpha-blockers or surgery. Physical therapy, relaxation exercises, and warm baths are all recommended. A physician may also prescribe antibiotics to cure the infection. A bacterial infection can also cause a recurrence of the condition.

An enlarged prostate can be uncomfortable for both men and women. Some of the symptoms of an enlarged male reproductive organ include a weakened urine stream, urgent need to urinate, and urinary tract infections. BPH can also cause damage to the kidneys. A sudden inability to urinate can be life-threatening, as it can lead to bladder and kidney damage. Unfortunately, most men with enlarged prostrates put up with the symptoms for years before they seek treatment. However, many of the men with symptoms finally decide to go to a doctor for proper gynecological evaluation and to begin enlarged prostatic therapy.

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Your Cancer Care Team

People with cancer should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team . This is a team of specialists who work together to provide the best care and treatment.

The team often consists of specialist cancer surgeons, oncologists , radiologists, pathologists, radiographers and specialist nurses.

Other members may include physiotherapists, dietitians and occupational therapists. You may also have access to clinical psychology support.

When deciding what treatment is best for you, your doctors will consider:

  • the type and size of the cancer
  • what grade it is

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Where Can I Find Support

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It can be very difficult to deal with a diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer. Its natural to wonder if youre doing all you can to fight the cancer and how to handle guilt, intimacy with a partner, and concerns about masculinity. And finding and paying for the best care can, of course, be a challenge.

But emotional and practical support can help you move forward. An important thing to remember is that youre not alone. There are many kinds of help available, and the right cancer resources can make a world of difference.

Ask your doctor for resources you can contact, including social workers and support systems in your community. The Patient Navigator Program of the ACS can be reached at 1-800-227-2345 youll be connected to a patient navigator at a cancer treatment center who can help you with practical and emotional issues.

The Prostate Cancer Foundation has links to in-person and online support groups around the country, and the ACS lists nationwide support programs as well. The PCF also offers resources ranging from help with housing during cancer treatment to finding ways you can look good and feel better while living with cancer.

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Improvements In Life Expectancy

A decade ago, a man with metastatic prostate cancer would typically have a life expectancy of two to three years. Today, life expectancy for men with the same advanced disease is likely to be five to six years. In the UK the survival rate for men with stage 4 prostate cancer is approximately 50%, meaning that 50 out of every 100 men will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer*. There is now a much broader range of chemotherapy drugs available for men with advanced disease with greater efficacy . We also have better treatments to control the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer, such as pain from metastases. In this section, we consider in more detail the different treatments that are available and evidence for their effectiveness.

Stage Iv Prostate Cancer Prognosis

Prostate cancers detected at the distant stage have an average five-year survival rate of 28 percent, which is much lower than local and regional cancers of the prostate. This average survival rate represents stage IV prostate cancers that have metastasized beyond nearby areas to lymph nodes, organs or bones in other parts of the body.

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Outlook For Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer

Many men with locally advanced prostate cancer have treatment that aims to get rid of their cancer. For some men, this treatment can be very successful and they may live for many years without their cancer coming back or causing them any problems. For others, treatment may be less successful and the cancer may come back. If this happens, you might need further treatment. Read more about the risk of your cancer coming back.

Some men with locally advanced prostate cancer will have treatment that aims to help keep their cancer under control rather than get rid of it completely. For example, if you have hormone therapy on its own, it can help to keep the cancer under control, usually for several years. And there are other treatments available if your hormone therapy stops working.

What Can Affect My Outlook

Metastatic Prostate Cancer Cellular Traces

No one can tell you exactly what will happen. How prostate cancer affects you will depend on many things.

  • Your stage Whether your cancer is localised, locally advanced, or advanced.
  • Your Gleason score or grade group The higher your Gleason score, the more aggressive the cancer, and the more likely it is to spread.
  • Your treatment options You may be able to have treatment aimed at getting rid of the cancer. Or you may be able to have treatment to keep the cancer under control. Read more about choosing your treatment.
  • Your health If you have other health problems, you may have fewer treatment options. And you may be more likely to die from another condition, such as heart disease.
  • Your PSA level After youve been diagnosed, PSA tests are a good way of monitoring your prostate cancer and seeing how youre responding to treatment.
  • How successful your treatment is Your treatment may be successful at getting rid of your cancer or keeping it under control. But for some men, treatment may not work as well as expected.

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What You Need To Know About The Prostate Can You Live 20 Years With Prostate Cancer

A enlarged prostate can also cause blockages in the urethra. A blocked urethra can also damage the kidneys. A patient suffering from an enlargement of the prostate may have pain in his lower abdomen and genitals. If pain is present, a digital rectal examination will reveal hard areas. A doctor may prescribe surgery or perform an endoscopic procedure. If the enlarged prostate is not completely removed, it will shrink.

While the size of an enlarged prostate will influence the extent of urinary symptoms, men may experience a range of urinary symptoms. Some men have minimal or no symptoms at all. Some men will have a very enlarged prostate, whereas others will have a mild enlargement. Generally, the symptoms can stabilize over time. Some men may have an enlarged prostate but not notice it. If they have an enlarged colon, their physician can perform a TURP procedure.

To Treat Or Not To Treat

Up until now, with a few notable exceptions, doctors have myopically focused on treating prostate cancer, says Adami. They are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on chemotherapy that has minimal effects on cancer mortality, often with substantial side effects. But we ignore entirely the fact that large groups of prostate cancer patients die from other causes that actually are preventable.

Among older patients especially, that activity can take the form of vigorous walking. Recently, Mucci has spearheaded an intervention with Adami and other colleagues in Sweden, Iceland, and Ireland in which men walk in groups with a nurse three times a week. In a pilot study, researchers found improvements in just 12 weeks in body weight, blood pressure, sleep, urinary function, and mental health.

Scientists at HSPH are also searching for genetic and lifestyle markers that help predict how aggressive a patients prostate cancer will be. For example, an ongoing project led by Mucci and Adami draws on detailed cancer registries in Nordic countries, including an analysis of 300,000 twins, to tease out the relative contribution of different genes to prostate cancer incidence and survival.

is a Boston-based journalist and author of The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the Worlds Favorite Soft Drink.

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Survival Of Prostate Cancer

Survival depends on many factors. No one can tell you exactly how long you will live.

Below are general statistics based on large groups of people. Remember, they cant tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Survival for prostate cancer is generally good, particularly if you are diagnosed early.

Additional Treatment After Surgery

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Additional treatment can come with one of two approaches: treatment given as adjuvant therapy , or as salvage therapy . In the modern era, most additional treatment is given as salvage therapy because firstly this spares unnecessary treatment for men who would never experience recurrence, and secondly because the success rates of the two approaches appear to be the same.

Regardless of whether an adjuvant or salvage therapy approach is taken, the main treatment options following biochemical recurrence are:

  • Radiotherapy this is the commonest approach. Because scans dont show metastatic deposits until the PSA is more than 0.5 ng/ml and because radiotherapy is more effective when given before this level is reached, the radiotherapy energy is delivered to the prostate bed. This is because we know that this is the commonest site of recurrence in most men, and that 80% of men treated in this way will be cured.
  • Active surveillance this is appropriate for a very slowly-rising PSA in an elderly patient who has no symptoms.
  • Hormonal therapy in many ways this is the least appealing option as it causes symptoms but does not cure anyone, although it does control the recurrence and lower the PSA.

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Differences Among Risk Groups

Men with PCa have been classified into low-, intermediate- and high-risk Groups for tumor recurrence and disease specific mortality, based on PSA level, clinical or pathological staging and GS. High-risk patients have PSA level 20ng/mL or GS 8 or clinical/pathological stage T2c . Lymph-node positive and PSM have also been reported as poor prognosis factors.

Risk Group classification predicts biochemical and clinical progression as well as PCa specific mortality and overall survival. The risk of disease progression in these groups has been validated for patients submited to RP in many studies. In patients from Mayo Clinic, BCR rates were 2.3 and 3.3-fold greater in high and intermediate-risk in comparison with low-risk patients, respectively. In those patients, mortality rates in high and intermediate-risk patients were greater than 11 and 6-fold over low-risk men .

Therefore, it is crutial to understand the role of each clinical and pathologic feature in PCa BCR and disease progression.

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