Learn More About Prostate Cancer Care At Rcca
If youve been diagnosed with prostate cancer or are concerned about potential symptoms, contact RCCA today. Our team of cancer care specialists will assess the stage of your cancer using the latest diagnostic methods and work with you to design a fully individualized care plan that includes advanced treatment options, the potential for clinical trials, and support that addresses physical and emotional well-being. To speak with a representative right away, please call 844-474-6866.
Stage 3 Diagnostic Criteria
While we talk about stage 3 cancers as one monstrous thing, their diagnosis differs drastically based on cancer type. Generally, a stage 3 cancer diagnosis requires one or more of three features:
- Tumor growth beyond a specific size
- Spread to a specific set of nearby lymph nodes
- Extension of the tumor into nearby structures
Once diagnosed, a cancer stage never changes. Even if the doctor re-stages the cancer diagnosis, or it recurs , they keep the initial staging diagnosis.
The doctor will add the new staging diagnosis to the initial stage and differentiate it with letterslike c for clinical, p for pathological , or after treatments .
Some stage 3 cancers are subdivided to give a more precise classification. These sub-stages will differ based on the specific cancerous organ. For example, stage 3 breast cancer has three subcategories:
- The tumor is smaller than 5 centimeters but has spread to 4-9 nodes.
- The tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to 1 to 9 nodes.
3B: The tumor is any size but has invaded the chest wall or breast skin and is swollen, inflamed, or has ulcers. It may have also invaded up to 9 nearby nodes
3C: The tumor can be any size but has spread to either: 10 or more lymph nodes, nodes near the collar bones, or lymph nodes near the underarm and the breast bone
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What Are The Different Stages Of Uterine Cancer
1 Stage I: Cancer that is confined to the uterus 2 Stage II: Cancer that has spread to the cervix 3 Stage III: Cancer that has spread to the vagina, ovaries, and/or lymph nodes 4 Stage IV: Cancer that has spread to the urinary bladder, rectum, or organs located far from the uterus, such as the lungs or bones
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Watchful Waiting Or Active Surveillance
Prostate cancer treatments can have side effects. If you’re worried about these risks, you can decide to hold off on these treatments and see if your tumor grows. Waiting is also an option if youâre older, your cancer is growing slowly, or you don’t have symptoms that bother you.
Waiting does not mean that you do nothing about your cancer. Your doctor will keep a close eye on the tumor and watch for any signs that itâs getting worse.
Watchful waiting means you and your doctor will look out for symptoms. The doctor may do tests from time to time to make sure the cancer hasn’t grown.
Active surveillance means your doctor will do tests, including PSA blood tests and rectal exams, usually about every 3-6 months to check on it. You may also have a biopsy, when a doctor takes a small piece of tissue from your prostate and checks it for cancer.
Stage 3 Pericardial And Testicular Mesothelioma
Doctors and researchers do not clearly define stage 3 pericardial or testicular mesothelioma due to their rare nature.
Only 1% to 2% of mesothelioma cases are pericardial, which means cancer forms within the sac that protects the heart. Therefore, a diagnosis for this disease is unlikely until the late stages, after metastasis to the lungs or chest cavity.
Doctors evaluate testicular mesothelioma tumor characteristics by using staging guidelines for general testicular cancer. For example, doctors more commonly refer to stage 3 testicular mesothelioma as late-stage cancer. This description indicates that cancer has spread beyond the lining of the testicles to other tissues such as lymph nodes or bone.
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How Is Prostate Cancer Staged
Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that develops in men and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in American men, behind lung cancer and just ahead of colorectal cancer. The prognosis for prostate cancer, as with any cancer, depends on how advanced the cancer has become, according to established stage designations.
The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland present only in men, found in the pelvis below the bladder. The prostate gland wraps around the urethra and lies in front of the rectum. The prostate gland secretes part of the liquid portion of the semen, or seminal fluid, which carries sperm made by the testes. The fluid is essential to reproduction.
The term to stage a cancer means to describe the evident extent of the cancer in the body at the time that the cancer is first diagnosed.
- Clinical staging of prostate cancer is based on the pathology results, physical examination, PSA, and if appropriate, radiologic studies.
- The stage of a cancer helps doctors understand the extent of the cancer and plan cancer treatment.
- Knowing the overall results of the different treatments of similarly staged prostate cancers can help the doctor and patient make important decisions about choices of treatment to recommend or to accept.
Strategies To Improve Treatment
The progress that has been made in the treatment of prostate cancer has resulted from development of better treatments that were evaluated in clinical studies. Future progress in the treatment of stage III prostate cancer will result from continued participation in appropriate clinical trials. Currently, there are several areas of active exploration aimed at improving the treatment of localized prostate cancer.
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Active Surveillance And Watchful Waiting
If prostate cancer is in an early stage, is growing slowly, and treating the cancer would cause more problems than the disease itself, a doctor may recommend active surveillance or watchful waiting.
Active surveillance. Prostate cancer treatments may seriously affect a person’s quality of life. These treatments can cause side effects, such as erectile dysfunction, which is when someone is unable to get and maintain an erection, and incontinence, which is when a person cannot control their urine flow or bowel function. In addition, many prostate cancers grow slowly and cause no symptoms or problems. For this reason, many people may consider delaying cancer treatment rather than starting treatment right away. This is called active surveillance. During active surveillance, the cancer is closely monitored for signs that it is worsening. If the cancer is found to be worsening, treatment will begin.
ASCO encourages the following testing schedule for active surveillance:
A PSA test every 3 to 6 months
A DRE at least once every year
Another prostate biopsy within 6 to 12 months, then a biopsy at least every 2 to 5 years
Treatment should begin if the results of the tests done during active surveillance show signs of the cancer becoming more aggressive or spreading, if the cancer causes pain, or if the cancer blocks the urinary tract.
Getting Help With Treatment Decisions
Making such a complex decision is often hard to do by yourself. You might find it helps to talk with your family and friends before making a decision. You might also find it helpful to speak with other men who have faced or are currently facing the same issues. The American Cancer Society and other organizations offer support programs where you can meet and discuss these and other cancer-related issues. For more information about our programs, call us toll-free at 1-800-227-2345 or see Find Support Programs and Services.
Itâs important to know that each manâs experience with prostate cancer is different. Just because someone you know had a good experience with a certain type of treatment doesnât mean the same will be true for you.
You might also want to consider getting more than one medical opinion, perhaps even from different types of doctors. For early-stage cancers, it is natural for surgical specialists, such as urologists, to favor surgery and for radiation oncologists to lean more toward radiation therapy. Doctors specializing in newer types of treatment may be more likely to recommend their therapies. Talking to each of them might give you a better perspective on your options. Your primary care doctor may also be helpful in sorting out which treatment might be right for you.
The following three sections refer to treatment using x-rays.
Conventional external beam radiation therapy
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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
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Prognosis For Prostate Cancer
It is not possible for a doctor to predict the exact course of a disease, as it will depend on each person’s individual circumstances. However, your doctor may give you a prognosis, the likely outcome of the disease, based on the type of prostate cancer you have, the test results, the rate of tumour growth, as well as your age, fitness and medical history.
Prostate cancer often grows slowly and even more aggressive types tend to grow more slowly than other types of cancer. If diagnosed early, prostate cancer has one of the highest five year survival rates.
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Prostate Cancer Treatment & Clinical Trials
Clinical trials provide alternative treatment options for cancer patients. Some aim to test new drugs, reduce side effects, improve current treatment methods, and more. For some patients, clinical trials may be their best option. Once clinical trials complete all four phases, the FDA decides whether to approve the treatment, which may eventually become a standard treatment option.
Below is a list of treatments currently being studied in clinical trials:
Cryosurgery: A cryoprobe is used to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue within the prostate.
High-intensityfocused ultrasound therapy: In this procedure, sound waves are directed at the area of cancer. The sound waves produce heat that kills the cancer cells.
: For tumors just below the surface of the skin, a drug can be injected and activated when exposed to light, killing the nearby cancer cells.
Bisphosphonate therapy: This is used to reduce bone disease once the cancer cells have metastasized to the bone. Clodronate or zoledronate are used to slow the growth of cancer cells within the bone.
Alpha emitter radiation therapy: For patients who have had prostate cancer metastasize to the bone. Radium-223 is injected, which then finds and kills cancer cells in areas of the bone
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.
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What Are The Options For Stage 3 Prostate Cancer
A diagnosis of Stage 3 prostate cancer means the cancer is present outside the prostate gland. Advanced imaging techniques are generally needed to make the diagnosis. Once diagnosed, there are several different treatment options available for patients. Dr. Howard Tay is a Urologist with experience in prostate health. In this video he describes some of the treatment options for Stage 3 prostate cancer patients. Talk to your doctor and choose the right treatment for you.
Howard P. Tay, MD: Well, for stage 3 prostate cancer and usually there is somewhat of a blurred line on that and thats because in order for someone to be really diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer, it is obviously not only involving a prostate biopsy that has identified the prostate cancer being present. It also more than likely involves an examination which identified that there is something firm or hard involving the prostate confirmed with the biopsy and then in addition if the clinician is suspicious where may be the cancer is extended outside of the prostate which is really the definition of stage 3 prostate cancer, they usually will do some form of imaging such as an MRI, may be a CT scan to identify that the borders of the prostate has been compromised and that the cancer itself has invaded into the surrounding tissue of the prostate.
Treatment Of Stage Iii Prostate Cancer
For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.
Standard treatment of stage III prostate cancer may include the following:
- External radiation therapy. Hormone therapy may be given after radiation therapy.
- Hormone therapy. Radiation therapy may be given after hormone therapy.
- Radical prostatectomy. Radiation therapy may be given after surgery.
- Watchful waiting.
- Active surveillance. If the cancer begins to grow, hormone therapy may be given.
Treatment to control cancer that is in the prostate and lessen urinary symptoms may include the following:
- External radiation therapy.
- Internal radiation therapy with radioactive seeds.
- Hormone therapy.
- Transurethral resection of the prostate .
- A clinical trial of new types of radiation therapy.
- A clinical trial of cryosurgery.
Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.
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Surgically Removing The Prostate Gland
A radical prostatectomy is the surgical removal of your prostate gland. This treatment is an option for curing prostate cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate or has not spread very far.
Like any operation, this surgery carries some risks.
A recent trial showed possible long-term side effects of radical prostatectomy may include an inability to get an erection and urinary incontinence.
Before having any treatment, 67% of men said they could get erections firm enough for intercourse.
When the men who had a radical prostatectomy were asked again after 6 months, this had decreased to 12%. When asked again after 6 years, it had slightly improved to 17%.
For urinary incontinence, 1% of men said they used absorbent pads before having any treatment.
When the men who had a radical prostatectomy were asked again after 6 months, this had increased to 46%. After 6 years, this had improved to 17%.
Out of the men who were actively monitored instead, 4% were using absorbent pads at 6 months and 8% after 6 years.
In extremely rare cases, problems arising after surgery can be fatal.
Its possible that prostate cancer can come back again after treatment. Your doctor should be able to explain the risk of your cancer coming back after treatment, based on things like your PSA level and the stage of your cancer.
After a radical prostatectomy, youll no longer ejaculate during sex. This means you will not be able to have a child through sexual intercourse.
Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer
Locally advanced prostate cancer means the cancer has broken through the outer covering of the prostate gland into nearby tissues.
Your doctor might monitor your prostate cancer if you dont have any symptoms. This is called watchful waiting. You can start treatment if you get symptoms.
Treatment options include:
- external radiotherapy with hormone therapy
- hormone therapy on its own
A small number of men might have surgery to remove the prostate gland. But doctors don’t often use it as a treatment for locally advanced cancer.
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Radiation Therapy For Prostate Cancer
Depending on the stage of your cancer, it is likely your doctor will incorporate radiation therapy into your treatment plan. Radiation uses extremely accurate, high-energy rays to weaken or kill cancer cells. It is non-invasive and often has few symptoms
For lower stages of prostate cancer, radiation therapy may be your first treatment. It is also often used alongside hormone therapy for prostate cancers that have grown to nearby tissues. Even in higher stages of prostate cancer, radiation therapy can be utilized as an additional treatment if surgery does not remove all of the cancer or if the cancer returns.
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What Does Your Tnm Prostate Cancer Stage Mean
The TNM system for describing prostate cancer uses the letters T, N, and M, which stand for tumor, nodes, and metastasis.
Specifically, stage 3 prostate cancer has extended through the capsule that surrounds the prostate but has not spread to distant sites in the body.
There are two sub-stages of stage 3 prostate cancer.
- T3a: The tumor has only gone through the capsule without invading the seminal vesicles.
- T3b: The tumor has invaded the seminal vesicles.
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