Metastatic Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Prognosis
The metastatic prostate cancer prognosis varies from person to person, as every situation is different.
According to the American Cancer Society, regional cancer , has a five-year relative survival rate of more than 99 percent.
For distant cancer , the five-year relative survival rate drops to 31 percent.
How Serious Is My Cancer
If you have prostate cancer, the doctor will want to find out how far it has spread. This is called the stage of the cancer. You may have heard other people say that their cancer was stage 1 or stage 2. Your doctor will want to find out the stage of your cancer to help decide what types of treatment might be best for you.
The stage is based on the growth or spread of the cancer through the prostate, and if it has spread to other parts of your body. It also includes your blood PSA level and the grade of the cancer. The prostate cancer cells are given a grade, based on how they look under a microscope. Those that look very different from normal cells are given a higher grade and are likely to grow faster. The grade of your cancer might be given as a Gleason score or a Grade Group . Ask your doctor to explain the grade of your cancer. The grade also can helpdecide which treatments might be best for you.
Your cancer can be stage 1, 2, 3, or 4. The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, like stage 4, means a more serious cancer that has spread outside the prostate.
If your cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of the body, it might also be given a risk group. The risk group is based on the extent of the cancer in the prostate, your PSA level, and the results of the prostate biopsy. The risk group can help tell if other tests should be done, and what the best treatment options might be.
Epidemiology Of Advanced Prostate Cancer
Approximately 11.6% of men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime, with the likelihood increasing with age prostate cancer is most often diagnosed in men age 55 to 74 years, and the median age at diagnosis is 66 years. Since the advent of prostate-specific antigen screening, prostate cancer is being detected and treated earlier.
Overall, incidence rates of prostate cancer began declining in 2000. Acceleration in the decline began in 2008, when organizations began recommending against routine PSA screening From 2011 to 2015, the rate decreased by about 7% per year.
A review of almost 800,000 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed from 20042013 found that although the incidence of low-risk prostate cancer decreased from 2007-2013 to 37% less than that of 2004, the annual incidence of metastatic prostate cancer during those years increased to 72% more than that of 2004. The increase in metastatic prostate cancer was greatest in men aged 5569 years.
At diagnosis, 77% of prostate cancer cases are localized in 13%, the cancer has spread to regional lymph nodes, and 6% have distant metastasis. The 5-year relative survival rate for localized and regional prostate cancer is 100%, compared with 30.5% for metastatic cases.
The mortality rate associated with prostate cancer continues to increase in Europe and in countries such as Australia, Japan, and Russia.
Treatment For Metastatic Cancer
There are treatments for most types of metastatic cancer. Often, the goal of treating metastatic cancer is to control it by stopping or slowing its growth. Some people can live for years with metastatic cancer that is well controlled. Other treatments may improve the quality of life by relieving symptoms. This type of care is called palliative care. It can be given at any point during treatment for cancer.
The treatment that you may have depends on your type of primary cancer, where it has spread, treatments youve had in the past, and your general health. To learn about treatment options, including clinical trials, find your type of cancer among the PDQ® Cancer Information Summaries for Adult Treatment and Pediatric Treatment.
Questions To Ask The Doctor
- What treatment do you think is best for me?
- Whats the goal of this treatment? Do you think it could cure the cancer?
- Will treatment include surgery? If so, who will do the surgery?
- What will the surgery be like?
- Will I need other types of treatment, too?
- Whats the goal of these treatments?
- What side effects could I have from these treatments?
- What can I do about side effects that I might have?
- Is there a clinical trial that might be right for me?
- What about special vitamins or diets that friends tell me about? How will I know if they are safe?
- How soon do I need to start treatment?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- Is there anything I can do to help the treatment work better?
- Whats the next step?
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Can You Prevent Prostate Cancer From Spreading
The only 100% reliable way to prevent cancer from spreading is by taking it down while it is still localized. Other than that, we can only slow its progression or keep a careful look at it for any alarming sign.
Some patients treat their prostate cancer with a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and other treatments.
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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Endocrine Drugs For Prostate Cancer
Drugs work as well as prostate cancer surgery to reduce the level of hormones in the body. Most men opt for drug therapy rather than surgery. The three types of hormone-related drugs approved to treat advanced prostate cancer include luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogs, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone antagonists, and antiandrogens.
Treatment By Stage Of Prostate Cancer
Different treatments may be recommended for each stage of prostate cancer. Your doctor will work with you to develop a specific treatment plan 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.
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Can I Survive Advanced Prostate Cancer Whats The Prognosis
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer in men, according to the National Cancer Institute. While theres no cure, men can live with it for years if they get the right treatment. Each man with advanced prostate cancer is different, of course. You and your cancer have unique qualities that your doctor takes into consideration when planning the best treatment strategy for you.
According to Harvard Medical School, the prognosis for men with advanced prostate cancer is improving because of newer medications that help them get past a resistance to androgen-deprivation therapy that typically develops after a few years of treatment. With these medications, many men are living longer, and a number of men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer are dying with the cancer, not from it.
Promptly treating prostate cancer bone metastases with the newest medication can help change a mans prognosis dramatically, Tagawa says. There are men who do well for decades, he says. Some men can even stop treatment, go on to live many years, and actually die of something unrelated.
Tagawa says that cancer specialists who use sophisticated imaging technologies, like positron-emission tomography scans, have gotten very good at finding even tiny bone metastases, which is valuable in diagnosing and removing early stage metastases.
A Different Way To Detect Metastases
Most men diagnosed with prostate cancer have localized disease, meaning the cancer appears to be confined to the prostate gland. However, certain factors have been linked to a higher risk of the cancer eventually spreading .
Currently, in the United States and many other countries, most men diagnosed with high-risk localized prostate cancer undergo additional testing to see if there is evidence of metastatic cancer. For many years, that has been done with a conventional CT scan and a bone scan , the latter because prostate cancer often spreads to the bones.
But both imaging technologies have limitations. Neither is particularly good at finding individual prostate cancer cells, and thus can miss very small tumors. And bone scans can detect bone damage or abnormalities that were caused by something other than cancer , resulting in false-positive findings that can lead to unnecessary additional testing.
So, researchers have been developing and testing other imaging agents that can find prostate cancer cells specifically in the body, Dr. Shankar explained.
As their name implies, PET-CT scans combine a CT scan with a PET scan, another type of nuclear imaging test that requires patients to receive intravenous injections of a radioactive tracer that can be detected on the scan.
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What Is Prostate Cancer
Cancer can start any place in the body. Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland. It starts when cells in the prostate grow out of control.
Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body. Cancer cells in the prostate can sometimes travel to the bones or other organs and grow there. When cancer cells do this, its called metastasis. To doctors, the cancer cells in the new place look just like the ones from the prostate.
Cancer is always named for the place where it starts. So when prostate cancer spreads to the bones , its still called prostate cancer. Its not called bone cancer unless it starts from cells in the bone.
Ask your doctor to use this picture to show you where your cancer is.
The prostate is a gland found only in men, so only men can get prostate cancer.
The prostate is just below the bladder and in front of the rectum . The tube that carries pee goes through the prostate. The prostate makes some of the fluid that helps keep the sperm alive and healthy.
There are a few types of prostate cancer. Some are very rare. Most prostate cancers are a type called adenocarcinoma. This cancer starts from gland cells. Your doctor can tell you more about the type you have.
How Does The Doctor Know I Have Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer tends to grow slowly over many years. Most men with early prostate cancer dont have changes that they notice. Signs of prostate cancer most often show up later, as the cancer grows.
Some signs of prostate cancer are trouble peeing, blood in the pee , trouble getting an erection, and pain in the back, hips, ribs, or other bones.
If signs are pointing to prostate cancer, tests will be done. Most men will not need all of them, but here are some of the tests you may need:
PSA blood test: PSA is a protein thats made by the prostate gland and can be found in the blood. Prostate cancer can make PSA levels go up. Blood tests will be done to see what your PSA level is and how it changes over time.
Transrectal ultrasound : For this test, a small wand is put into your rectum. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off the prostate gland. The echoes are made into a picture on a computer screen.
MRI: This test uses radio waves and strong magnets to make detailed pictures of the body. MRI scans can be used to look at the prostate and can show if the cancer has spread outside the prostate to nearby organs.
Prostate biopsy: For a prostate biopsy, the doctor uses a long, hollow needle to take out small pieces of the prostate where the cancer might be. This is often done while using TRUS or MRI to look at the prostate. The prostate pieces are then checked for cancer cells. Ask the doctor what kind of biopsy you need and how its done.
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What Is The Outlook
No cure is available for stage 4 prostate cancer. Your healthcare team will work with you to help control the cancer for as long as possible while maintaining a good quality of life.
Your outlook will depend on how fast the cancer is spreading and how well you respond to therapies.
With treatment, you can live for many years with metastatic prostate cancer.
Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. It can also spread to the lymph nodes, liver and lungs and other organs.
A large tumour in the prostate gland can spread into or press on areas around the prostate, such as the back passage or urethra. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.
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Treatments For Prostate Cancer Spread To Bones
If prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it nearly always goes to the bones first. Bone metastasis can be painful and can cause other problems, such as fractures , spinal cord compression , or high blood calcium levels, which can be dangerous or even life threatening.
If the cancer has grown outside the prostate, preventing or slowing the spread of the cancer to the bones is a major goal of treatment. If the cancer has already reached the bones, controlling or relieving pain and other complications is also a very important part of treatment.
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What About Other Treatments I Hear About
When you have cancer you might hear about other ways to treat the cancer or treat your symptoms. These may not always be standard medical treatments. These treatments may be vitamins, herbs, special diets, and other things. You may wonder about these treatments.
Some of these are known to help, but many have not been tested. Some have been shown not to help. A few have even been found to be harmful. Talk to your doctor about anything youre thinking about using, whether its a vitamin, a diet, or anything else.
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Looking For More Of An Introduction
If you would like more of an introduction, explore these related items. Please note that these links will take you to other sections on Cancer.Net:
ASCO Answers Fact Sheet:Read a 1-page fact sheet that offers an introduction to prostate cancer. This free fact sheet is available as a PDF, so it is easy to print.
ASCO Answers Guide:Get this free 44-page booklet that helps you better understand the disease and treatment options. The booklet is available as a PDF, so it is easy to print.
Cancer.Net Patient Education Video:View a short video led by an ASCO expert in prostate cancer that provides basic information and areas of research.
Cancer.Net En EspaÃ±ol: Read about prostate cancer in Spanish or read a 1-page ASCO Answers Fact Sheet in Spanish. InfÃ³rmase sobre cÃ¡ncer de prÃ³stata en espaÃ±ol o una hoja informativa de una pÃ¡gina, Respuestas sobre el cÃ¡ncer.
The next section in this guide is Statistics. It helps explain the number of people who are diagnosed with prostate cancer and general survival rates. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.
ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Societyâs publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2021, and the ACS website .