Questions To Ask Your Doctor Or Nurse
- What type of hormone therapy are you offering me and why?
- Are there other treatments I can have?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of my treatment?
- What treatments and support are available to help manage side effects?
- Are there any lifestyle changes that might help me manage my cancer, symptoms, or side effects?
- How often will I have check-ups and what will this involve?
- How will we know if my cancer starts to grow again?
- What other treatments are available if that happens?
- Can I join any clinical trials?
- If I have any questions or get any new symptoms, who should I contact?
Where Prostate Cancer Spreads
If left untreated, diagnosed prostate cancer can grow and possibly spread outside of the prostate to local tissues or distantly to other sites in the body. The first sites of spread are typically to the nearby tissues.
The cancer can spread down the blood vessels, lymphatic channels, or nerves that enter and exit the prostate, or cancer could erode directly through the capsule that surrounds the prostate.
The seminal vesicles are a site of particularly common early spread. More extensive local spread can occur with cancer invading the nearby bladder or rectum.
Further advancement of cancer can occur when cancer cells enter the blood vessels and lymphatic channels. Once cancer has entered into these vessels, prostate cancer cells can seed into virtually any other part of the body.
Prostate cancer is known to have a particular affinity for spreading or metastasizing to the bones especially the lower spine, pelvis, and femur. Other organs such as the liver, brain, or lungs can also be the sites of spread, but these are much rarer.
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If Prostate Cancer Spreads
Cancer cells can spread from the prostate to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.
Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care. If prostate cancer spreads, it can spread to the:
- ejaculatory ducts
- seminal vesicles
- lymph nodes in the pelvis
- lymph nodes outside the pelvis
- American Joint Committee on Cancer. AJCC Cancer Staging Handbook. 7th ed. Chicago: Springer 2010.
- Brierley JD, Gospodarowicz MK, Wittekind C . TNM Classification of Malignant Tumours. 8th ed. Wiley Blackwell 2017.
- Hermanns T, Kuk C, Zlotta AR. Clinical presentation, diagnosis and staging. Nargund VH, Raghavan D, Sandler HM . Urological Oncology. Springer 2015: 40: 697-718.
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Prostate Cancer . 2020: .
- Zelefsky MJ, Morris MJ, Eastham JA. Cancer of the prostate. DeVita VT Jr., Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds.. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer 2019: 70: 1087-1136.
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Can Turp Spread Prostate Cancer
TURP is a surgical procedure that removes the inner part of the prostate gland. Doctors usually prompt their patients for a TURP intervention when they start having trouble with urination.
A prostate tumor may exert pressure on the urethra which is in charge of carrying urine from the bladder. This is the reason why men with prostate cancer are at risk of not being able to empty their bladder. In order to preserve a healthy bladder, surgeons proceed to remove the inner part of the prostate gland.
Some concerns are that the inflammation that follows TURP may contribute to the acceleration of the spread of prostate cancer and an increased risk of mortality. Nevertheless, TURP-related studies show that there is no increased risk of mortality subsequent to TURP. There is, however, an increased risk of prostate cancer after TURP. Yet the explanation for that is the series of PSA tests during post surgery, which are quick to detect any signs of prostate cancer, if any.
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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Treatments To Control Advanced Prostate Cancer
If youve just been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, you may be offered the following treatments:
- chemotherapy with hormone therapy
- clinical trials.
Chemotherapy with hormone therapy
Chemotherapy uses anti-cancer drugs to kill cancer cells, wherever they are in the body. It wont get rid of your prostate cancer, but it aims to shrink it and slow down its growth. You might be offered chemotherapy at the same time as, or soon after, you start having hormone therapy. This helps many men to live longer, and may help delay symptoms such as pain.
You need to be quite fit to have chemotherapy. This is because it can cause side effects that are harder to deal with if you have other health problems. Read more about chemotherapy.
Hormone therapy will be a life-long treatment for most men with advanced prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer usually needs the hormone testosterone to grow. Hormone therapy works by either stopping your body from making testosterone, or stopping testosterone from reaching the cancer cells. This usually causes the cancer to shrink, wherever it is in the body. Hormone therapy can also help control symptoms of advanced prostate cancer, such as bone pain.
Hormone therapy can cause side effects speak to your doctor or nurse about ways to manage these. Read more about hormone therapy, and its side effects.
What Are Bone Metastases With Prostate Cancer
The ACS describes bone metastases as areas of bone containing cancer cells that have spread from another place in the body. In the case of prostate cancer, the cells have spread beyond the prostate gland. Since the cancer cells originated in the prostate gland, the cancer is referred to as metastatic prostate cancer.
The cancer cells spread to the bones by breaking away from the prostate gland and escaping attack from your immune system as they travel to your bones.
These cancer cells then grow new tumors in your bones. Cancer can spread to any bone in the body, but the spine is most often affected. Other areas cancer cells commonly travel to, according to the ACS, include the pelvis, upper legs and arms, and the ribs.
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How Fast Does Prostate Cancer Spread
Fortunately, fast speed doesnt appear throughout the prostate cancer list of characteristics. On the contrary, the disease is progressing at a slow pace.
This is the reason why the medical world advises men to periodically check for prostate cancer, starting from the age of 50. Due to its slow growth, prostate cancer is highly treatable as long as it is detected at an incipient stage.
In many cases where a diagnosis tracks down the presence of a prostate tumor, the patients life span is not altered. It can take up to 8 years for prostate cancer to become metastatic and spread outside the prostate gland and affect the bones, lungs, liver, or lymph nodes.
Nonetheless, there are different types of prostate cancer. Some of them are aggressive and can spread quickly throughout the body. Small cell carcinoma is one of them and it is an extremely rare condition.
What Is The Prostate
The prostate is a small gland that only men have. Normally, the prostate is about the size of a walnut. The prostate is located underneath the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate makes and stores fluid that is part of semen. This fluid is released from a mans penis during ejaculation.
The male hormone, testosterone, helps the prostate gland work as it should. Nerves to the penis, which are important in producing and maintaining an erection, run very close to the prostate. The prostate completely encircles the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis, called the urethra. If the prostate grows too big, it can block the flow of urine from the bladder, making it hard for a man to urinate.
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Eating Problems And Weight Loss
Some men with advanced prostate cancer have problems eating, or dont feel very hungry. You might feel or be sick. These problems may be caused by your cancer or by your treatments. Being worried about things can also affect your appetite.
Problems eating or loss of appetite can lead to weight loss and can make you feel very tired and weak. Advanced prostate cancer can also cause weight loss by changing the way your body uses energy.
What can help?
If you feel sick because of your treatment, your doctor can give you anti-sickness drugs. Steroids can also increase your appetite and are sometimes given along with other treatments.
Try to eat small amounts often. If youre struggling to eat because of nausea , try to avoid strong smelling foods. Cold foods tend to smell less, or it may help if someone cooks for you. Try to eat when you feel less sick, even if its not your usual mealtime. Fatty and fried foods can make sickness worse. Drink plenty of water, but drink slowly and try not to drink too much before you eat.
Tell your doctor if you lose weight. They can refer you to a dietitian who can provide advice about high calorie foods and any supplements that might help. It can be upsetting for your family to see you losing weight, and they may also need support. Macmillan Cancer Support and provide support and information about eating problems in advanced cancer.
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What Is Advanced Prostate Cancer
Advanced prostate cancer is cancer that has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body. It develops when prostate cancer cells move through the blood stream or lymphatic system.
Watch our video about advanced prostate cancer.
You might hear cancer that has spread described as metastatic prostate cancer, secondary prostate cancer, secondaries, metastases or mets. It is still prostate cancer, wherever it is in the body.
Prostate cancer can spread to any part of the body, but most commonly to the bones and lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are part of your lymphatic system, which is part of the bodys immune system. Lymph nodes are found throughout the body including in the pelvic area, near the prostate.
Advanced prostate cancer can cause symptoms, such as fatigue , bone pain, and problems urinating.
The symptoms you have will depend on where the cancer has spread to. Speak to your doctor or nurse if you have any symptoms. There are treatments available to help manage them.
Its not possible to cure advanced prostate cancer. But treatments can help keep it under control and manage any symptoms.
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What Are The Signs That Prostate Cancer Has Spread
Men diagnosed with prostate cancer are already on a care plan or another at the recommendation of their doctors. This procedure most likely starts from an extensive set of tests in order to determine how advanced their form of prostate cancer is and the speed at which their tumor grows.
Nonetheless, there are certain visible signs that indicate the fact that cancer cells have already started spreading outside the prostate gland. Keep in mind that prostate cancer manifests differently from case to case. Therefore, prostate cancer patients might experience some of the following signs or none at all.
Outlook Once Cancer Has Spread To The Bones
The research on cancer metastasis is rapidly growing. As researchers better understand the mechanisms of bone metastasis, new drugs and other treatments are being developed. These target particular processes in cells involved in how the cancer cells invade and grow in bones.
The use of nanoparticles to deliver drugs is very encouraging. These tiny particles are able to deliver drugs to the bone with minimal toxicity to the person with cancer.
Rapidly treating bone metastasis can lead to a
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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.
As Screening Falls Will More Men Die From Prostate Cancer
In active monitoring, men with localized prostate cancer do not get surgery or radiation right after theyre diagnosed. Instead, they have regular biopsies, blood tests, and MRIs to see if their cancer is progressing. If it is, they can receive treatment.
Although some oncologists advise men with early, low-grade prostate cancer to choose active surveillance and professional groups such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology recommend it many patients recoil at what sounds like lets just wait for your cancer to become really advanced. A decade ago fewer than 10 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer chose monitoring, UCLA researchers found. But that is changing. Now at least half of men do.
That made sense to Garth Callaghan, author of the best-selling Napkin Notes, a book of missives he tucked into his daughters lunch box. Diagnosed with early prostate cancer in 2012, he said, none of the choices seemed particularly attractive to a 43-year-old man who dreaded the possibility of side effects of surgery or radiation, including incontinence and impotence. I was completely torn. My previous experience was, just get it out of my body. But after his doctor explained that prostate cancer is grossly overtreated in the United States, I did a complete 180 and chose active monitoring.
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Remission And The Chance Of Recurrence
A remission is when cancer cannot be detected in the body and there are no symptoms. This may also be called having no evidence of disease or NED.
A remission can be temporary or permanent. This uncertainty causes many people to worry that the cancer will come back. Although there are treatments to help prevent a recurrence, such as hormonal therapy and radiation therapy, it is important to talk with your doctor about the possibility of the cancer returning. There are tools your doctor can use, called nomograms, to estimate someones risk of recurrence. Understanding your risk of recurrence and the treatment options may help you feel more prepared if the cancer does return. Learn more about coping with the fear of recurrence.
In general, following surgery or radiation therapy, the PSA level in the blood usually drops. If the PSA level starts to rise again, it may be a sign that the cancer has come back. If the cancer returns after the original treatment, it is called recurrent cancer.
When this occurs, a new cycle of testing will begin again to learn as much as possible about the recurrence, including where the recurrence is located. The cancer may come back in the prostate , in the tissues or lymph nodes near the prostate , or in another part of the body, such as the bones, lungs, or liver . Sometimes the doctor cannot find a tumor even though the PSA level has increased. This is known as a PSA-only or biochemical recurrence.
Drugs To Treat Cancer Spread To Bone
If prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it almost always goes to the bones first. These areas of cancer spread can cause pain and weak bones that might break. Medicines that can help strengthen the bones and lower the chance of fracture are bisphosphonates and denosumab. Sometimes, radiation, radiopharmaceuticals, or pain medicines are given for pain control.
Side effects of bone medicines
A serious side effect of bisphosphonates and denosumab is damage to the jaw, also called osteonecrosis of the jaw . Most people will need to get approval from their dentist before starting one of these drugs.
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Can Prostate Cancer Spread To The Brain
In unusual cases, prostate cancer metastasis can spread to the brain. The average time that needs for cancer cells to reach the brain is 3.8 years.
Nonetheless, its important to underline the fact that cases of brain metastases from prostate cancer are exceptional. The condition is likely to affect other parts of the body as well. Moreover, these exceptions are usually discovered during post-mortem analysis.
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.
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