How Is Prostate Cancer Treated
For many men with prostate cancer, treatment is not immediately necessary.
If the cancer is at an early stage and not causing symptoms, a policy of watchful waiting or active surveillance may be adopted. This involves carefully monitoring your condition.
Some cases of prostate cancer can be cured if treated in the early stages. Treatments include surgically removing the prostate, radiotherapy and hormone therapy.
Some cases are only diagnosed at a later stage when the cancer has spread. If the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, typically the bones, it cannot be cured and treatment is focused on prolonging life and relieving symptoms.
All treatment options carry the risk of significant side effects, including erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. For this reason, many men choose to delay treatment until there is a risk the cancer might spread.
Newer treatments, such as high-intensity focused ultrasound or cryotherapy, aim to reduce these side effects. Some hospitals may offer them as an alternative to surgery, radiotherapy or hormone therapy. However, the long-term effectiveness of these treatments are not yet known.
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What Is Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer
If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and your healthcare provider has indicated that your cancer appears to not have spread beyond the prostate gland, you have what is known as clinically localized prostate cancer. Sometimes, healthcare providers will also call cancer that has spread into the lining of the prostate gland clinically localized.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, about 90 percent of men with prostate cancer have localized prostate cancer, and it is typically considered low-risk, meaning patients can expect to live long after their diagnosis, in many cases even without treatment.
Prognostic Grouping Of Prostate Cancer
TNM prognostic grouping for prostate cancer is based on the stage, PSA level and Gleason score. This grouping is more accurate in predicting a prognosis than TNM staging alone. It goes without saying that the lower the scores, the best outlook and chance that your cancer can be successfully treated without the cancer coming back .
In contrast, if the prognosis is darker for men with higher scores, there may still be treatment options to control your cancer, improve your quality of life and prolong your survival.
Doctors also use nomograms to predict a prostate cancer prognosis. Nomograms are predictive tools.
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Further Treatment After Radical Prostatectomy
Two other therapies are occasionally recommended after surgery, based on the pathology report after the surgery as well as the subsequent PSA response.
Radiation therapy may be offered to some men with high-risk prostate cancer who have cancer that has penetrated through the prostate capsule or have positive margins after surgery. Studies have shown that recurrence rates drop by approximately 50% in these men if they receive radiotherapy after surgery. However, some of these men may not develop recurrent tumours even without further treatment and may also suffer the additional side-effects of the radiotherapy. The most standard strategy, therefore, is to use radiation therapy only if PSA levels rise above 0.2 ng/mL.
Hormone therapy may be recommended for men who have cancer found in their lymph nodes at the time of surgery. Studies have shown that for some of these men, hormone therapy helps patients live longer.
Survival By Tumor Grade
One way cancer is staged is by looking at the grade of cancer. Grade refers to how cancer cells look like under a microscope.
Traditionally for prostate cancer, this has been done using the Gleason Score, which was developed in the 1960s. Under this system, cancerous cells are categorized on a scale from 1 to 5. Grade 1 cells are considered normal prostate tissues, while cells in the grade 5 range have mutated to such an extent they no longer resemble normal cells.
In determining a Gleason score, a pathologist will examine a biopsy sample under a microscope and give a Gleason grade using the above scale to the most predominant pattern displayed, then a second grade to the pattern that is the second most predominant. Those two grades are then added to form the overall Gleason score .
In theory, Gleason scores could range from 2 to 10, but pathologists today rarely give a score between 2 and 5 and are more likely to be in the range of 6 to 10 with 6 being the lowest grade of prostate cancer.
Under the Gleason Score system, a 6 is considered low grade, 7 is intermediate and scores of 8, 9, or 10 are considered high-grade cancers.
The higher the Gleason score, the more likely it is the prostate cancer will grow and spread quickly.
However, there have been some issues with the Gleason system, and a new grading system, to act as an extension of the Gleason system, has been developed.
Under this system Gleason scores are now categorized into grade groups:
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Performance Status And Predicted Life Expectancy
Performance status and predicted life expectancy are both critical elements to incorporate into individualized clinical decision-making in men with advanced prostate cancer. Performance status remains a key factor in treatment decision-making, particularly among men with advanced prostate cancer. Indeed, performance status has been found to be strongly associated with survival among men with mCRPC, 35-38 and has been used to define index patients in prior versions of this guideline. Performance status generally describes an individual patientâs level of functioning and how oneâs disease impacts a patientâs activities of daily living. The first of two commonly used scales to evaluate performance status include the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group scale from 0 to 5 where 0 is fully functional and 5 is dead. The second is the Karnofsky scale where 10 represents a moribund individual and 100 represents an individual with no limitations.
What Are Prostate Cancer Survival Rates By Stage
Staging evaluation is essential for the planning of treatment for prostate cancer.
- A basic staging evaluation includes the patient examination, blood tests, and the prostate biopsy including ultrasound images of the prostate.
- Further testing and calculations may be performed to best estimate a patient’s prognosis and help the doctor and patient decide upon treatment options.
Prognosis refers to the likelihood that cancer can be cured by treatment, and what the patient’s life expectancy is likely to be as a consequence of having had a prostate cancer diagnosis.
If cancer is cured, your life expectancy is what it would have been had you never been diagnosed with prostate cancer. If cancer cannot be cured due to it recurring in distant locations as metastases, or recurs either locally or in an area no longer able to be treated in a curative manner, then estimates can be made of what is likely to be your survival-based again on group statistics for people who have been in the same situation.
Nomograms are charts or computer-based tools that use complex math from the analysis of many patients’ treatment results.
The prognosis for prostate cancer varies widely and depends on many factors, including the age and health of the patient, the stage of the tumor when it was diagnosed, the aggressiveness of the tumor, and cancer’s responsiveness to treatment, among other factors.
The 5 and 10-year survival rate of prostate cancer chart
|Stage and 5-Year Survival
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Salvage Androgen Deprivation Therapy
Recurrence following RP can potentially be managed with salvage ADT, although data supporting this use is generally obtained from retrospective studies . Not all patients with BCR after primary curative treatment benefit from salvage ADT however, a favourable effect is observed in a high-risk group, which may be defined as having a short PSA-DT and/or by tumour characteristics . Factors that may favour ADT after RP include a very high risk of clinical recurrence, good recovery of continence, long life expectancy, and the patient being anxious about the future or not being ready to accept the idea of sRT.
The National Cancer Institute of Canada PR-7 trial compared intermittent with continuous ADT in men with BCR and no evidence of metastatic disease after definitive or salvage RT and RP. OS in the intermittent arm was not inferior to that in the continuous arm, and intermittent therapy was associated with beneficial effects on certain domains of QoL. Salvage ADT for BCR may therefore be most appropriately delivered in an intermittent fashion, with the possible exception of patients with a Gleason score of 8 or higher .
What Factors Increase The Chance Of Cancer Recurrence
The likelihood of metastasis occurring increases with higher grade and stage of the cancer as the more aggressive and developed the cancer is, the higher the chance of it breaking out of the prostate. More specifically:
- High Gleason grades
- High clinical stages
- Positive surgical margins .
However, most prostate cancers are cured with surgery. As an example, using my results from operations performed on over 2,300 men with a variety of stages and grades, 96.3% of operations resulted in full cancer cure. Some combinations of minor prostate cancer had a 100% cancer cure rate, but the higher you go, the lower the full cancer cure rate.
The commonest sites of recurrence of prostate cancer following surgery are:
- the prostate bed 80% of recurrence cases
- lymph nodes 15% of cases
- bones 5% of cases.
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Differences Among Risk Groups
Men with PCa have been classified into low-, intermediate- and high-risk Groups for tumor recurrence and disease specific mortality, based on PSA level, clinical or pathological staging and GS. High-risk patients have PSA level 20ng/mL or GS 8 or clinical/pathological stage T2c . Lymph-node positive and PSM have also been reported as poor prognosis factors.
Risk Group classification predicts biochemical and clinical progression as well as PCa specific mortality and overall survival. The risk of disease progression in these groups has been validated for patients submited to RP in many studies. In patients from Mayo Clinic, BCR rates were 2.3 and 3.3-fold greater in high and intermediate-risk in comparison with low-risk patients, respectively. In those patients, mortality rates in high and intermediate-risk patients were greater than 11 and 6-fold over low-risk men .
Therefore, it is crutial to understand the role of each clinical and pathologic feature in PCa BCR and disease progression.
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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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What Treatment Options Are Best For Recurrent Prostate Cancer
The most suitable treatment for prostate cancer, if it becomes an issue once again after a prostatectomy, will vary on a patient-by-patient basis. These differences are usually contingent on a combination of factors, including the increased risk markers , the area of the body where recurrence manifests, the age of the patient, personal medical history, and more.
In many cases, hormone treatment may be recommended and carried out. This option for addressing recurrent prostate cancer works by blocking the cellular and physiological effects of certain male hormones. This kind of mitigation may further be supplemented with specialized drugs that play a significant role in preventing metastatic processes and curbing the cancers rate of growth.
Other options that can effectively eradicate or adequately address prostate cancer recurrence include high-intensity focused ultrasound , radiation therapies, and certain drug-based or chemotherapeutic approaches.
Caring For The Incision
You will be able to take a shower the second day after your surgery. You may continue to have some discharge at the drain site for three to five days. Once you leave the hospital, the key words on caring for the drain site and incisions are clean and dry. Showering once a day and gently patting the area with a clean towel should be sufficient.
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Your Cancer Care Team
People with cancer should be cared for by a multidisciplinary team . This is a team of specialists who work together to provide the best care and treatment.
The team often consists of specialist cancer surgeons, oncologists , radiologists, pathologists, radiographers and specialist nurses.
Other members may include physiotherapists, dietitians and occupational therapists. You may also have access to clinical psychology support.
When deciding what treatment is best for you, your doctors will consider:
- the type and size of the cancer
- what grade it is
- whether the cancer has spread to other parts of your body
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.
- Stages I & II: The tumor has not spread beyond the prostate. This is often called early stage or localized prostate cancer.
- Stage III: Cancer has spread outside the prostate, but only to nearby tissues. This is often called locally advanced prostate cancer.
- Stage IV: Cancer has spread outside the prostate to other parts such as the lymph nodes, bones, liver or lungs. This stage is often called advanced prostate cancer.
When an early stage prostate cancer is found, it may be treated or placed on surveillance . If prostate cancer spreads beyond the prostate or returns after treatment, it is often called advanced prostate cancer. Stage IV prostate cancer is not curable, but there are many ways to control it. Treatment can stop advanced prostate cancer from growing and causing symptoms.
There are several types of advanced prostate cancer, including:
If your Prostate Specific Antigen level has risen after the first treatment but you have no other signs of cancer, you have biochemical recurrence.
Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
- Lymph nodes outside the pelvis
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What Can Affect My Outlook
No one can tell you exactly what will happen. How prostate cancer affects you will depend on many things.
- Your stage Whether your cancer is localised, locally advanced, or advanced.
- Your Gleason score or grade group The higher your Gleason score, the more aggressive the cancer, and the more likely it is to spread.
- Your treatment options You may be able to have treatment aimed at getting rid of the cancer. Or you may be able to have treatment to keep the cancer under control. Read more about choosing your treatment.
- Your health If you have other health problems, you may have fewer treatment options. And you may be more likely to die from another condition, such as heart disease.
- Your PSA level After youve been diagnosed, PSA tests are a good way of monitoring your prostate cancer and seeing how youre responding to treatment.
- How successful your treatment is Your treatment may be successful at getting rid of your cancer or keeping it under control. But for some men, treatment may not work as well as expected.
Improvements In Life Expectancy
A decade ago, a man with metastatic prostate cancer would typically have a life expectancy of two to three years. Today, life expectancy for men with the same advanced disease is likely to be five to six years. In the UK the survival rate for men with stage 4 prostate cancer is approximately 50%, meaning that 50 out of every 100 men will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer*. There is now a much broader range of chemotherapy drugs available for men with advanced disease with greater efficacy . We also have better treatments to control the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer, such as pain from metastases. In this section, we consider in more detail the different treatments that are available and evidence for their effectiveness.
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Sexuality And Feeling Good About Your Body
Prostate cancer treatment can often affect sexual function. Learning to be comfortable with your body during and after prostate cancer treatment is a personal journey, one that is different for everyone. Information and support can help you cope with these changes over time. Learn more in Sex and the Man With Cancer.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Man With Prostate Cancer
The life expectancy of a man with prostate cancer is favorable. Most of the aged men detected of prostate cancer die of other comorbidities. The life expectancy is as follows:
- Almost 100% of men who have early-stage prostate cancer will survive more than 5 years after diagnosis.
- Men with advanced prostate cancer or whose cancer has spread to other regions have lesser survival rates. About one-third will survive for 5 years after diagnosis.
The longer-term survival rates for early-stage prostate cancer include:
- The relative 10-year survival rate is 98%.
- The relative 15-year survival rate is 96%.
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Life After Prostate Removal
For many men with prostate cancer, prostate removal is never needed because the cancer is often slow-growing and managed with non-surgical treatments. But, if the cancer has grown beyond the prostate, the oncologist may recommend prostate removal surgery, also called a prostatectomy. If you are going to have prostate removal surgery, this information can help you in your discussion with the doctors.