If The Cancer Comes Back
If your prostate cancer comes back at some point, your treatment options will depend on where the cancer is, what types of treatment youve already had, and your health. See Treating Prostate Cancer that Doesn’t Go Away or Comes Back After Treatment. For more general information on recurrence, see;Understanding Recurrence.
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:
Types Of Radical Prostatectomy
There are three main types of radical prostatectomy:
- Retropubic. In this procedure, the surgeon uses an incision in the lower abdomen to remove the prostate and the lymph nodes for examination. This procedure allows for a nerve-sparing approach, which can lower but not totally eliminate the risk of impotence following surgery. In the nerve-sparing approach, the surgeon tries to preserve one or both of the small nerve bundles needed for unassisted erections. However, if the cancer has spread to the nerves, this approach may not be advised.
- Laparoscopic. In this recently developed procedure, the prostate is removed in a fashion similar to a retropubic prostatectomy, but the procedure is performed through five very small incisions using lighted, magnified scopes and cameras. The prostate specimen is then removed in a small bag through one of the incisions, which is expanded to 2 to 3 cm to allow specimen removal.Potential benefits of this procedure are less pain and earlier return to full activities. Nerve-sparing methods and lymph node dissections can be performed with this technique as well.
- Perineal. In this procedure, the prostate is removed through an incision in the skin between the scrotum and anus. The lymph nodes can’t be removed through this incision. If the lymph nodes need to be examined, removal can be done through a small abdominal incision or by a laparoscopic procedure. A nerve-sparing approach can be performed perineally.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have prostate cancer, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get prostate cancer?
- What is my Gleason score? What is my Grade Group? What do these numbers mean for me?
- Has the cancer spread outside of the prostate gland?
- What is the best treatment for the stage of prostate cancer I have?
- If I choose active surveillance, what can I expect? What signs of cancer should I look out for?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- Is my family at risk for developing prostate cancer? If so, should we get genetic tests?
- Am I at risk for other types of cancer?
- What type of follow-up care do I need after treatment?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Prostate cancer is a common cancer that affects males. Most prostate cancers grow slowly and remain in the prostate gland. For a small number, the disease can be aggressive and spread quickly to other parts of the body. Men with slow-growing prostate cancers may choose active surveillance. With this approach, you can postpone, and sometimes completely forego, treatments. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best treatment option for you based on your Gleason score and Group Grade.
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Money And Financial Support
If you have to reduce or stop work because of your prostate cancer, you may find it hard to cope financially. If you have prostate cancer or are caring for someone who does, you may be entitled to financial support:
- if you have a job but cannot work because of your illness, you’re entitled to Statutory Sick Pay from your employer
- if you do not have a job and cannot work because of your illness, you may be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance
- if you are caring for someone with cancer, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance
- you may be eligible for other benefits if you have children living at home or if you have a low household income
Find out early what help is available to you. Speak to the social worker at your hospital, who can give you the information you need.
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What Is Metastatic Cancer
In metastasis, cancer cells break away from where they first formed , travel through the blood or lymph system, and form new tumors in other parts of the body. The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor.
Cancer that spreads from where it started to a distant part of the body is called metastatic cancer. For many types of cancer, it is also called stage IV cancer. The process by which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body is called metastasis.
When observed under a;microscope and tested in other ways, metastatic cancer cells have features like that of the primary cancer and not like the cells in the place where the metastatic cancer is found. This is how doctors can tell that it is cancer that has spread from another part of the body.
Metastatic cancer has the same name as the primary cancer. For example, breast cancer that spreads to the lung is called metastatic breast cancer, not lung cancer. It is treated as;stage IV breast cancer, not as lung cancer.
Sometimes when people are diagnosed with metastatic cancer, doctors cannot tell where it started. This type of cancer is called;cancer of unknown primary;origin, or CUP. See the Carcinoma of Unknown Primary page for more information.
What Are Next Steps
Bone metastasis have a profound effect on the long-term outlook for prostate cancer. But its important to remember that the numbers are only statistics.
The good news is that life expectancy for advanced prostate cancer continues to increase. New treatments and therapies offer both longer life and better quality of life. Speak to your doctor about your treatment options and long-term outlook.
Everyones cancer experience is different. You may find support through sharing your treatment plan with friends and family. Or you can turn to local community groups or online forums like Male Care for advice and reassurance.
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Advanced Genomic Testing For Prostate Cancer
The most common lab test;for prostate cancer is advanced genomic testing, which examines a tumor to look for DNA alterations that may be driving the growth of the cancer. By identifying the mutations that occur in a cancer cells genome, doctors may get a clearer picture of the tumors behavior and be able to tailor a patients treatment based on the findings.
Treatment Options For Localized Prostate Cancer
If you are diagnosed with low-risk prostate cancer, you may be presented with a number of different treatment options. The most common include:
- Active Surveillance: Your doctor may want to monitor your disease to see if treatment is necessary. With active surveillance, you will have regular check-ups with your doctors, and he or she may perform biopsies regularly. If your test results change, your doctor will discuss your options for starting treatment.
- Watchful Waiting: While some doctors use the terms active surveillance and watchful waiting interchangeably, watchful waiting usually means that fewer tests are done. You will still visit your doctor regularly, but your doctor will discuss changes in your health as they relate to managing your symptoms, not curing your disease.
- Prostatectomy: Removal of the prostate, called prostatectomy, is an option that has a strong likelihood of removing your cancer since you are removing the gland where it is located. However, this is an invasive procedure that can lead to other issues, which will be covered later.
- Radiation: Your doctor may suggest radiation as a means of therapy that targets tumors with radiation, usually through daily treatments in a hospital or clinic over multiple weeks.
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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
Going Home With A Catheter
You will be discharged from the hospital with a catheter in place to drain urine from your bladder into a bag. The doctor will remove this in the office in five to 14 days. Be sure to clean the catheter where it exits your penis twice a day with soap and water and to empty the bag frequently. The bag should always be positioned lower than your bladder.
On occasion, the catheter may irritate the bladder, causing bladder spasms that can be quite uncomfortable. If these occur, your doctor can prescribe medication that can help. Leakage of urine around where the catheter exits the penis also may occur and can be managed by wearing incontinence pads as described in the next section.
It is normal for your urine to look cloudy for a few weeks after surgery. Occasionally, bleeding may occur around the catheter or be noticed within the urine. This also is common. If you see large clots â more than an inch in length â or if the catheter becomes plugged, contact your doctor. No anesthesia is required for catheter removal, and most patients experience only a little discomfort.
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Outlook For Men With Localised Prostate Cancer
Most;localised prostate cancer;is slow-growing and may not need treatment or shorten a mans life. For many men who have treatment for localised prostate cancer, the treatment will get rid of the cancer. For others, treatment may be less successful and the cancer may come back. If this happens, you might need further treatment.
Keeping Health Insurance And Copies Of Your Medical Records
Even after treatment, its very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and although no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.
At some point after your cancer treatment, you might find yourself seeing a new doctor who doesnt know your medical history. Its important to keep copies of your medical records to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment.;
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Stages Of Prostate Cancer
In order to determine the stage of a patients prostate cancer, most doctors start by using the TNM staging system, which helps describe different aspects of the cancers growth.
- T the T category measures the size and extent of the Tumor
- N the N category measures whether and how far the cancer has spread to the Lymph Nodes
- M the M category whether the cancer has spread to other organs in the body (a process called Metastasis
The score for each of these categories is determined based on a pre-determined set of criteria. Your doctor cannot feel or see the tumor with a score of T1. A score of T3 means that the tumor has begun to grow outside of the prostate.
After calculating the TNM categories, doctors will combine the TNM score with the patients Gleason score and PSA levels assigning of a specific stage to the patients cancer.
Prostate cancer prognosis and survival rates can help give patients an idea of their chances of surviving the disease based on the stage and time of diagnosis. While some patients may find this information helpful, others may not want to know.
Prostate Cancer Survival Rates
Answering the question of how curable is prostate cancer? first requires understanding what doctors mean when they refer to curability. Regardless of the type of cancer, doctors consider cancer cured when a patient remains cancer-free for a specified period after treatment. The higher the number of patients who stay cancer-free for five years or longer, the higher the curability of that particular disease.
Prostate cancer, therefore, has one of the highest curability rates of all types of cancer, thanks in large part to early detection standards and advances in treatment, such as the stereotactic body radiation therapy offered by Pasadena CyberKnife. When the cancer is detected in the early local or regional stages that is, before the cancer has spread or when it has only spread to limited areas in the pelvic regions the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent.
Survival rates decline significantly when cancer is detected at later stages; however, the good news is that only about five percent of men are diagnosed after the cancer has become widespread throughout the body. In short, more than 90 percent of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer live for five years or longer after treatment, making it one of the most curable forms of cancer.
What Are Some Ways To Provide Emotional Support To A Person Who Is Living With And Dying Of Cancer
Everyone has different needs, but some worries are common to most dying patients. Two of these concerns are fear of abandonment and fear of being a burden. People who are dying also have concerns about loss of dignity and loss of control. Some ways caregivers can provide comfort to a person with these worries are listed below:
- Keep the person company. Talk, watch movies, read, or just be with them.
- Allow the person to express fears and concerns about dying, such as leaving family and friends behind. Be prepared to listen.
- Be willing to reminisce about the person’s life.
- Avoid withholding difficult information. Most patients prefer to be included in discussions about issues that concern them.
- Reassure the patient that you will honor advance directives, such as living wills.
- Ask if there is anything you can do.
- Respect the person’s need for privacy.
- Support the persons spirituality. Let them talk about what has meaning for them, pray with them if theyd like, and arrange visits by spiritual leaders and church members, if appropriate. Keep objects that are meaningful to the person close at hand.
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.
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Treatment Of Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy Bph
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