Advanced Prostate Cancer Resources
At ZERO we are dedicated to helping you live your best life possible and we have resources and information to help you and your loved ones throughout the advanced prostate cancer journey. Our advanced prostate cancer resources include print materials, online educational programs and co-pay assistance. Check out some of our resources listed below.
What Should I Expect As My Cancer Progresses
How does prostate cancer spread?
Prostate cancer cells can move from the prostate to other parts of the body through the blood stream. Or they can spread to the lymph nodes near the prostate and then travel through the lymph vessels to other parts of your body. Lymph nodes and lymph vessels are part of your lymphatic system and are found throughout your body.
Prostate cancer most commonly spreads to the bones and lymph nodes. It can also spread to, or press on, the tube you urinate through , the bladder, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder and part of the bowel . Prostate cancer may spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs and liver. But this is less common.
If tests and scans show that your cancer is spreading, ask your doctor what will happen next. This can help you and your family prepare for what to expect. Find out more about advanced prostate cancer and treatments.
Watch our video about advanced prostate cancer.
How does prostate cancer cause problems?
Prostate cancer can cause problems if it is pressing on your bones or nerves. It can also cause problems by stopping your normal cells from working properly.
What problems can advanced prostate cancer cause?
The symptoms and problems you have will depend on where the cancer has spread to. Even though your cancer is still growing, you will still be able to have treatment to help manage these problems.
Advanced prostate cancer problems may include:
What should I look out for?
What Are Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Treatments
After prostate cancer has spread to other parts of your body and reached the final stage it is often incurable. Some treatments may be able to shrink tumors or slow the cancers spread.
Hormone blocking therapy
Prostate cancer needs the male hormone testosterone to grow. Blocking or preventing your body from making testosterone can potentially slow the cancers spread or even shrink tumors. Testosterone can be blocked with many different types of medications or surgery to remove your testicles.
In late-stage prostate cancer, hormone therapy is usually used alone but can also be combined with other treatments.
Radiation therapy may be recommended in stage 4 prostate cancer for men with very large tumors or cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes and other areas. It is often combined with hormone therapy or used after surgery to kill off any remaining cancer cells.
Chemotherapy might be recommended for people with stage 4 prostate cancer in combination with hormone therapy or other treatments. It can help relieve some of your prostate cancer symptoms and potentially prolong your life expectancy.
Pain relief and supportive care
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Screening For Prostate Cancer
There are no tests available with sufficient accuracy to screen populations of men for early signs of prostate cancer. However, early detection and treatment can significantly improve prostate cancer survival.
The test most commonly used to aid early detection of prostate cancer is the prostate specific antigen blood test. This is not a diagnostic test as it can only indicate changes in the prostate. If you are concerned about prostate cancer you should talk to your doctor and make an informed choice about whether to have one of the tests designed to find early signs of prostate cancer, in view of the potential risks and benefits.
There are no proven measures to prevent prostate cancer.
Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer Spread To The Bones
The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. This can include the:
The most common symptom if cancer has spread to the bone is bone pain. It is usually there most of the time and can wake you up at night. The pain can be a dull ache or stabbing pain.
Your bones might also become weaker and more likely to break .
When prostate cancer spreads to the spine, it can put pressure on the spinal cord and cause spinal cord compression. This stops the nerves from being able to work properly. Back pain is usually the first symptom of spinal cord compression.
Spinal cord compression is an emergency. You should contact your treatment team immediately if you are worried you might have spinal cord compression.
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Survival Rates For Prostate Cancer
Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time after they were diagnosed. These rates cant tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.
Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they cant predict what will happen in any particular persons case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Ask your doctor, who is familiar with your situation, how these numbers may apply to you.
How Is Advanced Prostate Cancer Treated
Androgen deprivation therapy is usually the choice of treatment of metastatic prostate cancer. Also known as hormone therapy, it is also used for treating patients who are unfit or unwilling to undergo surgery or/and radiation therapy.
Examples of hormone therapies for advanced prostate cancer include
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What Is Metastatic Prostate Cancer
Sometimes cancer cells will escape the prostate and grow quickly, spreading to nearby tissue, or metastasizing. Nearby lymph nodes are often the first destination for a spreading cancer. If prostate cancer has spread to your lymph nodes when it is diagnosed, it means that there is higher chance that it has spread to other areas of the body as well.
If and when prostate cancer cells gain access to the bloodstream, they can be deposited in various sites throughout the body, most commonly in bones, and more rarely to other organs such as the liver, lung, or brain. Bone metastases are seen in 85% to 90% of metastatic cases.
No matter where a cancer turns up in the body, it is always identified by the tissue type in which it started. Prostate cancer can metastasize to other organs, but it is always prostate cancer, because it consists of mutated prostate cells.
Men diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer , will often not undergo local treatments of the primary prostate tumor, such as surgery or radiation. Instead, their therapeutic journey might start with hormone therapy, and from there follow a similar path as men who were diagnosed at an earlier stage and had subsequent disease progression.
Want more information about a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options? Download or order a print copy of the Prostate Cancer Patient Guide.
Last Days Of Life Patient Version
On This Page
The end of life may be months, weeks, days, or hours. It is a time when many decisions about treatment and care are made for patients with cancer. It is important for families and healthcare providers to know the patientâs wishes ahead of time and to talk with the patient openly about end-of-life plans. This will help make it easier for family members to make major decisions for the patient at the end of life.
When treatment choices and plans are discussed before the end of life, it can lower the stress on both the patient and the family. It is most helpful if end-of life planning and decision-making begin soon after the cancer is diagnosed and continue during the course of the disease. Having these decisions in writing can make the patientâs wishes clear to both the family and the healthcare team.
When a child is terminally ill, end-of-life discussions with the childâs doctor may reduce the time the child spends in the hospital and help the parents feel more prepared.
This summary is about end of life in adults with cancer and where noted, children with cancer. It discusses care during the last days and last hours of life, including treatment of common symptoms and ethical questions that may come up. It may help patients and their families prepare for decisions that they need to make during this time.
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End Stage Stomach Cancer
There are IV stages of stomach cancer and the disease is classified according to several factors. Stage III B, III C and IV are considered stages of advanced disease and stage IV is actually the terminal stage of this malignant disease.
Stage III B is characterized by the growth of the tumor outside the stomach lining. The tumor penetrates through all the layers of the stomach wall and affects regional lymph nodes as well as surrounding tissues. This stage is not terminal but requires prompt treatment in order to prevent further progression of the disease and quick lethal outcome.
Stage III C includes spread of the tumor to nearby organs and regional lymph nodes. For example, tumor cells can be found in the pancreas, intestine and liver. Even though the tumor has affected abdominal organs, it has not yet spread to distant organs and organs systems in the body.
And finally, stage IV is the terminal stage of stomach cancer. It involves uncontrollable growth of the tumor and its metastases. The tumor may affect many different organs and even spread to distant ones such as the brain, lungs or bones. In women stomach cancer has tendency to spread to the ovaries. The very presence of the tumor, its location and size determine symptoms and signs patients are forced to deal with. This stage is practically incurable and all doctors can do is to provide with appropriate symptomatic treatment such as pain management, feeding assistance and similar.
The Final Days To Weeks Of Life
Providing excellent care toward the end of life requires an ability to anticipate when to focus mainly on palliation of symptoms and quality of life instead of disease treatment. Prognostic information plays an important role for making treatment decisions and planning for the EOL. However, the available literature suggests that medical providers inaccurately predict how long patients will live and tend to overestimate survival times. This appears to hold true even for providers who are experienced in treating patients who are terminally ill. In a multicenter cohort study of 230 hospitalized patients with advanced cancer, palliative care providers correctly predicted time to death for only 41% of patients. Survival time was overestimated in 85% of patients for whom medical providers gave inaccurate predictions, and providers were particularly likely to overestimate survival for Black and Latino patients.
Providers attempting to make prognostic determinations may attend to symptoms that may herald the EOL , or they may observe trends in patients functional status.
The investigators assigned patients to one of four states:
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What To Expect Emotionally
This can be a time of big emotions â for you and your loved ones. You may feel peaceful and ready to go. You may feel sad, angry, scared, or withdrawn. You may be worried about the loved ones youÃ¢ll leave behind or have feelings â good or bad â about your life.
The only right emotion to feel is whatever youÃ¢re feeling.
Expect to grieve losses on many levels over the course of this stage: loss of function, independence, hope of recovery, and the way you thought your life would look.
Hospital rules during COVID-19 have changed things: You may not be able to see children, grandchildren, or people who bring you joy in person. This can feel particularly hard if you have to say goodbye through your phone or computer screen. Keep in mind that you have options, including hospice, which can help you address any emotional, relational, and spiritual issues that are on your mind.
Possible Changes In Breathing
- Breathing may speed up and slow down due to less blood circulation and build-up of waste products in the body
- Patient may grunt while breathing
- Neck muscles may look tight to help breathe
- Mucus in the back of the throat may cause rattling or gurgling with each breath
- The patient may not breathe for periods of up 10 to 30 seconds
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Possible Changes In Circulation And Temperature
- Arms and legs may feel cool to the touch as circulation slows down
- Skin on arms, legs, hands, and feet may darken and look blue or mottled
- Other areas of the body may become either darker or paler
- Skin may feel cold and either dry or damp
- Heart rate may become fast, faint, or irregular
- Blood pressure may get lower and become hard to hear
Castrate Refractory Prostate Cancer: A Wider Range Of Options
In this section, we explain the treatments available at Birmingham Prostate Clinic for patients once their disease becomes resistant to hormone treatment, called castrate refractory prostate cancer. Two types of treatments are needed to:
- Control the cancer and prevent further spread of cancer
- Control or prevent the symptoms caused by the spread of prostate cancer to the bones
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Stage Iv Prostate Cancer Prognosis
Prostate cancers detected at the distant stage have an average five-year survival rate of 28 percent, which is much lower than local and regional cancers of the prostate. This average survival rate represents stage IV prostate cancers that have metastasized beyond nearby areas to lymph nodes, organs or bones in other parts of the body.
What Happens Without Treatment
Healthcare providers will sometimes talk about a particular diseases natural history or typical progression if it is left untreated indefinitely.
With regard to prostate cancer, most cases of the disease are discovered while the cancer is still confined to the prostate itself. This is called local disease or localized disease.
The disease is easiest to treat while it is confined to the prostate. At this stage, surgery and radiation are most likely to be curative and completely kill or remove whatever cancer cells are present.
If left untreated, however, prostate cancer can proceed on a number of different paths.
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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.
What Is Prostate Cancer
Growth in the prostate can be of two types
Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland and may spread to the nearby areas: lymph nodes, organs, or bones in other parts of the body.
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What Is The Difference Between Prostate Cancer And Advanced Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate gland begin to grow out of control. In the early stages of prostate cancer, the cancer cells are only present in the prostate and have not spread to nearby tissues.
Advanced prostate cancer, also known as stage 4 prostate cancer, occurs when cancer cells have spread to other areas of the body.
How You Might Feel
When prostate cancer is advanced, it can no longer be cured. But treatment can control it for some time and help to relieve symptoms.
Finding out that your cancer cant be cured is distressing and can be a shock. Its common to feel uncertain and anxious. It’s normal not to be able to think about anything else.
Lots of information and support are available to you, your family and your friends. It can help to find out more about your cancer and the treatments you might have. Many people find that knowing more about their situation can make it easier to cope.
Talk to your doctor or nurse to understand:
- what your diagnosis means
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