For Men Diagnosed With Prostate Disease The First Question Posed May Be: Can You Die From Prostate Cancer Early Detection Is Critical: The Survival Rate Declines The Later The Cancer Is Diagnosed
Can you die from prostate cancer? Yes, but it’s true that more men die with prostate cancer than from it.
Before widespread prostate cancer screening began in the late 1980s, many men newly diagnosed with the disease had advanced cancer that had spread beyond the prostate. Today, in the screening era, most men with the disease are diagnosed when their cancer is in an earlier, more curable stage. But, even with todays screening strategies, can you die from prostate cancer?
The answer is yes, especially if you allow the disease to grow undetected without a proper diagnosis and treatment.
While prostate cancer usually develops slowly and isnt immediately life threatening, in some men it can grow aggressively and become lethal. For these men, early detection of prostate cancer may mean the difference between life and death.
Death From Other Causes
The mean age at metastatic prostate cancer diagnosis in the study was roughly 71 years. Most of the cohort was White and had a diagnosis of stage M1b metastatic prostate cancer , which means the cancer had spread to the bones.
Among men in the cohort, the rates of death from septicemia, suicide, accidents, COPD, and cerebrovascular diseases were significantly increased compared with the general US male population, the team observes.
Thus, the study authors were concerned with not only with death from metastatic prostate cancer, but death from other causes.
That concern is rooted in the established fact that there is now improved survival among patients with prostate cancer in the US, including among men with advanced disease. “Patients tend to live long enough after a prostate cancer diagnosis for noncancer-related comorbidities to be associated with their overall survival,” they write.
The editorialists agree: prostate cancer “has a high long-term survival rate compared with almost all other cancer types and signals the need for greater holistic care for patients.”
As noted above, cardiovascular diseases were the most common cause of non-prostate cancer-related deaths in the new study.
As in the management of other cancers, there is concern among clinicians and researchers about the cardiotoxic effects of prostate cancer treatments.
The study had no specific funding. The study authors and editorialists have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
Myth: Prostate Cancer Is For Older Men
Fact: While its true that the majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are older, it can strike younger men, too. About 40 percent of all cases occur in men younger than 65, according to the ACS. Its not uncommon at all for men in their fifties and some in their forties to have prostate cancer, says Sartor.
The exact age you should start getting regularly screened for prostate cancer is still an area of confusion and debate. At least start talking to your doctor about PSA testing once youre 50 years old, the ACS recommends. The exception to this is if the disease runs in your family, in which case its a good idea to start PSA screening earlier, at age 40 or 45.
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Thousands Of Men Die From Prostate Cancer Every Year Because Its Spotted Too Late The Signs You Need To Know
- Gemma Mullin, Digital Health Reporter
- 15:22, 2 Sep 2019
THOUSANDS of men are dying from prostate cancer every year because it’s spotted too late, a charity has warned.
New figures show that more than 40 per cent of diagnoses are made in the stages 3 or 4 despite being the most common cancer in Brit blokes.
Caught an earlier stage increases the chances of beating it – which is why it’s vital to know the early warning signs.
Yet a new survey, commissioned by men’s cancer charity Orchid, has revealed that awareness of the risk factors amongst GPs is worryingly low.
Only five per cent named ethnicity as a primary risk factor, despite black African and black Caribbean men being twice as likely to develop the disease.
Prostate cancer is more common in those aged over 50, while people with a family history are at twice the risk.
Men are not confident in recognising the symptoms of prostate cancer so the GP-patient interface is essential to reverse the continued increase in late stage diagnosis
Rebecca PortaOrchid charity
However, the research also revealed that less than half of all GPs surveyed recognised that.
Meanwhile 15 per cent mistakenly thought that infections such as HPV were a primary risk factor for prostate cancer.
Rebecca Porta, Orchid’s chief executive, is calling on GPs to consider prostate cancer risk even before men present with symptoms.
Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Screening
Fortunately, today the vast majority of all prostate cancers are found when they are still in their local stages, largely due to widespread screening efforts.
Because the primary screening method is a simple blood test, screening for prostate cancer may seem like a no-brainer, but its more complicated than that. Thats because evidence of whether the prostate specific antigen screening test saves lives is conflicting. Some research suggests that routine PSA testing identifies too many harmless, slow-growing cancers, leading to unnecessary prostate biopsies and treatment that can cause significant urinary and sexual side effects. Complicating the issue is research indicating that the screening test misses many aggressive cancers.
Conversely, other studies have shown a benefit of screening in reducing the risk of dying from prostate cancer.
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Prostate Cancer Can Cause Pain In Many Areas And Not Just Because Of Bone Spread But Also Due To Other Features Of The Disease
It can feel different ways depending on the nature of the cause.
Curable early stage prostate cancer usually does not cause pain, says Sean Cavanaugh, MD, Chief of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
That is the most important message do not use pain as a primary screening mechanism for prostate cancer.
Most pain associated with prostate cancer is from bone metastases in stage IV disease.
For example, men with bone metastases to their spine may have pain in their back.
Prostate cancer can spread to the ribs , pelvis and femur .
Even shoulder and arm pain are possible when a metastatic tumor is pressing against the spine.
Bone metastases occur in approximately 80% of patients with advanced prostate cancer, says the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
When prostate cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it almost always goes first to the bones.
Bone pain from prostate cancer can feel like a dull ache or feel like a toothache in the bones, or you may feel a sharper sensation.
Can worsen with movement
May come and go or be constant
Who Is At Risk For Prostate Cancer
All men are at risk for prostate cancer, but African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men.
All men are at risk for prostate cancer. Out of every 100 American men, about 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about 2 to 3 men will die from prostate cancer.
The most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer.
Some men are at increased risk for prostate cancer. You are at increased risk for getting or dying from prostate cancer if you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer.
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Watchful Waiting And Active Surveillance
Watchful waiting is an adequate approach in patients who are at low risk of death from prostate cancer because of their limited life expectancy due to severe comorbidities., Watchful waiting resulted in similar overall survival when compared with radical prostatectomy, but disease-specific survival was better in patients who had undergone surgery. For some patients it turns out to be hard to persist on a watchful waiting policy, and many men drop out and seek active treatment within several years, mostly when PSA elevation is noted.
Active surveillance is a novel and fascinating approach to distinguish between patients who are at higher risk and need active therapy and patients who are at low risk for disease progression., This approach avoids the risks of therapy while allowing early detection of those patients who are prone to progress. In these high-risk individuals, delayed active treatment is offered. Periodic monitoring of the PSA serum level, digital rectal exam, and repeated prostate biopsies are performed in patients who are on active surveillance, and active therapy is started when predefined threshold values are reached. This concept makes it possible to offer curative treatment to individuals who are at high risk for disease progression as indicated by active surveillance parameters.
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Myth : Its Important To Treat Prostate Cancer As Soon As Possible
This is something concerned men and family members ask me about a lot. Men are often keen to act quickly when they hear they have cancer, but in fact not all prostate cancer needs immediate treatment. Most prostate cancers are slow growing, and youd have time to consider your options and make the right decision for you.
In fact, some men might never need treatment or can delay their treatment while their cancer is carefully monitored.
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Myth: If You Have A Low Psa You Don’t Have Prostate Cancer
Fact: PSA levels can be useful in diagnosing prostate cancer, but theyre really only one piece of the larger puzzle. The PSA test is far from perfect, Sartor says. He draws a parallel between low PSA readings and negative mammograms in women. If you have a negative mammogram, it’s not 100 in terms of excluding cancer. The probability is less, but likewise just because your PSA is relatively low, you cant interpret that to mean that there is no cancer present.
However, the opposite can also occur: Sartor described a different scenario in which one of his patients a very bright and accomplished attorney has a biopsy after getting an elevated PSA, and the biopsy came back negative. After this negative result he figured he didnt have cancer, and waited three to four years before having his PSA tested again, Sartor says. Now he has prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of his body. In other words: metastatic disease. He took the negative biopsy as literally meaning he doesn’t have cancer, and it turned out badly for him.
To get the most complete picture of your prostate health, you need to get other diagnostic tests as well. This may mean getting a biopsy. But that standard is changing, says Sartor, citing a major study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in March 2018 and The Lancet in February 2017 that point to the value of a special type of MRI imaging called multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging.
Stage I Prostate Cancer Survival
Your likelihood of dying from prostate cancer depends on the stage of the prostate cancer. Stage I cancer means that the cancer is contained in the prostate, only 5 percent of the prostate tissue has cancer present, and the cancer hasn’t spread anywhere else. According to the American Cancer Society, 9 out of 10 prostate cancers are diagnosed at Stage I or Stage II.
Stage I prostate cancer is considered to be local prostate cancer, and 100 percent of men with local prostate cancer are alive five years after diagnosis .
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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?
What Happens When Prostate Cancer Is Left Untreated
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
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 doctors 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, doctors 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 doctor and family.
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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.
Prostate Cancer Its More About Living Well With The Disease Than The Risk Of Dying From It
Maintaining a good quality of life with the disease requires early detection and appropriate treatment
Prostate cancer affects one in eight men over the age of 50, impacting their life over time. However, unlike with many other types of cancer, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from the disease. This being the case, the detection and appropriate treatment of prostate cancer is primarily aimed at living better with the disease, rather than avoiding mortality. So, knowing this, how can men live better with a prostate cancer diagnosis? The answer includes the fact that the earlier a cancer is detected, the more options there are to minimize the progression of the disease and reduce the impact it has on the quality of a mans life.
Lets start before prostate cancer is even detected. Maintaining a well-balanced diet, keeping ones weight in check, reducing alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking, are all key to an overall healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise, while also a part of any wellness regime, has a specific benefit for prostate health. Prostate cancer reacts strongly to steroids in the body, and regular exercise helps to stabilize steroid levels by counterbalancing the everyday stresses that flood the body with adrenaline.
Understanding the warning signs is key. For example, any urinary disfunction exhibited after the age of 50 should be a signal to have a clinical visit with a urologist these specialists are very adept at detection.
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Prostate Cancer Caregiver Podcast Series
We are proud to announce a new podcast series geared toward helping give support, hope and guidance to prostate cancer caregivers. The goal of this Prostate Cancer Caregiver Podcast Series is to help others connect with a diverse group of people who have felt the impact of prostate cancer in their lives and empower them on their journey.
What Is My Risk Of Developing Mscc
MSCC isnt common, but you need to be aware of the risk if your prostate cancer has spread to your bones or has a high risk of spreading to your bones. Your risk of MSCC is highest if your prostate cancer has already spread to your spine.
Speak to your doctor or nurse for more information about your risk of MSCC.
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Myth : A High Psa Level Means I Have Prostate Cancer
Not true. A lot of men I speak to feel confused and worried about what their PSA blood tests results mean. Although most men with prostate cancer will have a higher level of PSA, not all men with a high PSA will have prostate cancer.
Your PSA can rise for other reasons such as a urine infection, inflammation in the prostate or benign prostate enlargement. If you have a high PSA, further tests will help get a clearer picture.
Read more about tests for prostate problems here.
What Are The Stages Of Prostate Cancer
Cancer staging is first described using what is called a TNM system. The “T” refers to a description of the size or extent of the primary, or original, tumor. “N” describes the presence or absence of, and extent of spread of the cancer to lymph nodes that may be nearby or further from the original tumor. “M” describes the presence or absence of metastases — usually distant areas elsewhere in the body other than regional lymph nodes to which the cancer has spread. Cancers with specific TNM characteristics are then grouped into stages, and the stages are then assigned Roman numerals with the numerals used in increasing order as the extent of the cancer being staged increases or the cancer prognosis worsens. Prognosis is finally reflected by considering the patient’s PSA score at presentation as well as their Gleason score in assigning a final stage designation.
The American Joint Commission on Cancer system for prostate cancer staging is as follows:
Traditionally, advanced prostate cancer was defined as disease that had widely metastasized beyond the prostate, the surrounding tissue, and the pelvic lymph nodes and was incurable. However, a more contemporary definition includes patients with lower grade disease with an increased risk of progression and/or death from prostate cancer in addition to those with widely metastatic disease.
The National Cancer Institute and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines on prostate cancer version 2.2017 indicate the following:
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