What Determines Treatment For Prostate Cancer
If prostate cancer is detected, treatment might not be recommended right away. This is because the prostate cancer cells normally grow so slowly. In this case you might be a candidate for active surveillance. This means that you and Dr. Steven Gange will work together to track the growth of your cancer rather than proceeding to radiation or surgery.
Tests will be conducted periodically to watch the growth. This is an effective plan if there are no symptoms and as long as the cancer continues to grow slowly.
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Signs Of Prostate Cancer
Although prostate cancer is slow growing and can take years for symptoms to appear, men should be periodically checked with a PSA test.
Signs of prostate cancer include trouble urinating, blood in the urine, difficulty getting an erection, and pain in the back, hips, ribs, or other bones.
If a diagnosis is made, treatment will be determined by your age, any other medical issues you may have, the prognosis , and your feelings about the side effects.
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Bone Loss From Prostate Cancer Treatment
Testosterone, the male sex hormone, fuels the growth of prostate cancer but it also is crucial to bone health. Treatment of prostate cancer with hormone therapy, also called androgen deprivation therapy , blocks the production of testosterone which stops or slows the growth of the cancer. Without testosterone, bones can become weak and break more easily. When a man is on ADT recovery from a bone fracture takes longer than for other men. It is especially important for men taking ADT to speak with their physician about how to plan for and manage the bone loss before a problem arises. Bone strength can also be decreased as a result of radiation and chemotherapy used to treat prostate cancer.
Fortunately there are ways to strengthen and repair your bones including medicines and lifestyle changes.
- Bisphosphonates can prevent the thinning of the bone and help make them stronger
- Oral bisphosphonates include Fosamax and Actonel
- The intravenous bisphosphonate is Zometa
- Strive for a healthy diet and make sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D
- When exercising, include weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercises
- Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol
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Pain In The Back Or Hips
Many times, prostate cancer pain occurs around the lower spinal cord and hips. This a result of the prostate being in close proximity to these regions.
Cancer in the hips will cause bones to become brittle and weak. The result is consistent soreness, especially when bending over or exercising.
Prostate cancer can also put pressure on the spine. The compression of the nerves causes a dull pain that can become stabbing as the cancer grows.
If youve been experiencing severe pain in the back or hips even without engaging in rigorous activities during the day, its best if you get yourself checked. Aside from being one of the most common signs of prostate cancer, severe pain in the back and hips can take a toll on your daily activities, and prevent you from becoming productive during the day. Pain in the back and hips can also adversely affect your mobility, making it very challenging for you to move.
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What You Need To Know About The Prostate Does Prostate Cancer Spread Fast
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.
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Soreness In The Groin
When prostate cancer spreads, its common for cancer cells to go to your lymph nodes and then move to more areas of your body. The lymph nodes are a network of glands that help your body filter fluids and fight infections.
There are several lymph nodes in your groin. These are the ones closest to your prostate, so its common for the cancer to spread to them first. Cancer cells prevent your lymph nodes from draining fluid and working properly. When this happens, your lymph nodes swell. As a result, you might experience pain or soreness in the area.
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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How Will My Cancer Be Monitored
Your doctor will talk to you about how often you should have check-ups. At some hospitals, you may not have many appointments at the hospital itself. Instead, you may talk to your doctor or nurse over the telephone. You might hear this called self-management.
You will have regular PSA tests. This is often a useful way to check how well your treatment is working. Youll also have regular blood tests to see whether your cancer is affecting other parts of your body, such as your liver, kidneys or bones.
You might have more scans to see how your cancer is responding to treatment and whether your cancer is spreading.
Your doctor or nurse will also ask you how youre feeling and if you have any symptoms, such as pain or tiredness. This will help them understand how youre responding to treatment and how to manage any symptoms. Let them know if you have any side effects from your treatment. There are usually ways to manage these.
How We Treat Prostate Cancer
The prognosis for metastatic prostate cancer can be discouraging, but some treatment centerslike the Johns Hopkins Precision Medicine Center of Excellence for Prostate Cancerspecialize in innovative, individualized therapy with the potential to improve outcomes.
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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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What Treatments Are Available
If you have advanced prostate cancer, treatment wont cure your cancer. But it can help keep it under control and manage any symptoms.
If youve just been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, you may be offered the following treatments:
Research has found that having radiotherapy together with one of the main treatments listed above can help some men with advanced prostate cancer to live longer. But radiotherapy isnt suitable for all men with advanced prostate cancer.
If you live in Scotland, you may also be offered a type of hormone therapy called abiraterone acetate together with standard hormone therapy. In the rest of the UK, abiraterone is currently only given to men with advanced prostate cancer that has stopped responding to other types of hormone therapy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is currently deciding whether to make it available for men who have just been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.
Before you start treatment
Before you start any treatment, make sure you have all the information you need. Its important to think about how you would cope with the possible side effects. Speak to your doctor or nurse about this.
It can help to write down any questions you want to ask at your next appointment. It may also help to take someone with you, such as your partner, a family member or friend.
If you have any questions, speak to our Specialist Nurses.
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What Does It Mean For Prostate Cancer To Spread
Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body. Doctors say the cancer has âmetastasizedâ or spread if this occurs.
Prostate cancer can spread to:
- pale skin due to anemia
These symptoms can also occur with aging and an enlarged prostate. As a result, some people may ignore them instead of seeking medical attention.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, age is the biggest contributing factor to prostate cancer risk. Doctors diagnose an estimated 60% of all prostate cancers in males older than 65 years of age.
It states that additional risk factors for prostate cancer include:
- Family history: People with a close relative who has had prostate cancer may be twice as likely to get prostate cancer as those who do not.
- Race: Males of African descent are about 75% more likely to develop prostate cancer than white males and more than twice as likely to die from the condition.
- Smoking: A history of smoking is associated with a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer.
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.
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After Prostate Removal The Sperm Has To Go Somewhere But Where
Men who are facing prostate removal due to cancer will surely wonder where their sperm will go after removal of the prostate gland. Its fair to wonder about this.
First of all, sperm is produced in the testicles.
People can continue to have orgasms, though, because the nerves that have to do with climax are unaffected, and are actually not related to whether or not someone ejaculates.
The sperm gets broken down and reabsorbed by the body. This is the same process as if someone were abstinent or had a vasectomy.
In short, prostate removal will not affect sperm production or quantity. It only affects what happens to the sperm once its produced.
Unfortunately, removal of the prostate may be more of an issue to a woman than to the man, if she believes she cant enjoy intimate relations without ejaculations.
Men who have partners like this should focus on all that can be done to treat their prostate cancer and prevent a recurrence.
Prostate cancer affects one out of six men as a lifetime risk, and the number it kills every year in the U.S. averages in the high 20,000s.
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What Is Advanced Prostate Cancer
When prostate cancer spreads beyond the prostate or returns after treatment, it is often called advanced prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is often grouped into four stages, with stages III and IV being more advanced prostate cancer.
- Early Stage | Stages I & II: The tumor has not spread beyond the prostate.
- Locally Advanced | Stage III: Cancer has spread outside the prostate but only to nearby tissues.
- Advanced | Stage IV: Cancer has spread outside the prostate to other parts such as the lymph nodes, bones, liver or lungs.
When an early stage prostate cancer is found, it may be treated or placed on surveillance . Advanced prostate cancer is not curable, but there are many ways to treat it. Treatment can help slow advanced prostate cancer progression.
There are several types of advanced prostate cancer, including:
With biochemical recurrence, the prostate-specific antigen level has risen after treatment using surgery or radiation, with no other sign of cancer.
Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
Non-Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer that no longer responds to hormone treatment and is only found in the prostate. This is found by a rise in the PSA level, while the testosterone level stays low. Imaging tests do not show signs the cancer has spread.
Metastatic Prostate Cancer
- Other organs, such as liver or lungs
Metastatic Hormone-Sensitive Prostate Cancer
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How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed
Doctors describe the growth and spread of prostate cancer in stages. Doctors use these stages as guides when choosing treatment options or offering prognoses to their patients.
Prostate cancer staging is based on a number of different factors, including prostate cancer screening tests such as a digital rectal exam or prostate-specific antigen test and imaging studies like bones scans, MRIs, CT scans, and trans-rectal ultrasounds.
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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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Survival For All Stages Of Prostate Cancer
Generally for men with prostate cancer in England:
- more than 95 out of 100 will survive their cancer for 1 year or more
- more than 85 out of 100 will survive their cancer for 5 years or more
- almost 80 out of 100 will survive their cancer for 10 years or more
Survival of prostate cancer is also reported in Scotland and Northern Ireland. But it is difficult to compare survival between these countries because of differences in the way the information is collected.
Cancer survival by stage at diagnosis for England, 2019Office for National Statistics
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account the background mortality that they would have experienced if they had not had cancer.