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What Tests Will My Healthcare Provider Use To Diagnose Metastatic Cancer

Treatment for Few Metastases | Oligo-Metastases Disease | Mark Scholz, MD | PCRI

There is no standard test to check for metastasis. Your healthcare provider will order tests based on the type of cancer you have and the symptoms youve developed.

Blood tests

Routine blood tests can tell your provider if your liver enzymes are elevated. This could indicate liver metastasis. In many cases, however, these blood test results are normal, even in the presence of advanced cancer.

Tumor markers

Some cancers have tumor markers that can be helpful in monitoring cancer after diagnosis. If tumor marker levels increase, it could mean that your cancer is advancing. Some examples are:

  • Colon cancer: CEA .
  • Prostate cancer: PSA .
  • Testes cancer: AFP and HCG .

There are several tumor markers that are less specific, and therefore, not used as a tool for diagnosing metastasis.


There are many tests that take pictures of the inside of your body. Appropriate tests depend on the symptoms and the type of cancer. Imaging tests may include:

The results of these tests may not provide definitive answers. In some cases, your healthcare provider may also take a biopsy of the suspected metastatic tumor.

Symptoms Of Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Metastatic prostate cancer means that a cancer that began in the prostate gland has spread to another part of the body. It is also called advanced prostate cancer.

If your prostate cancer has spread you might:

  • feel generally unwell
  • have weight loss for no known reason

You might have specific symptoms depending on where the cancer has spread to. These symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions so might not be a sign that the cancer has spread.

How Do I Take Care Of Myself

Being diagnosed with metastatic cancer comes with many challenges. These challenges vary from person to person, but you might:

  • Feel sad, angry or hopeless.
  • Worry that treatment wont work and that your cancer will get worse quickly.
  • Get tired of going to so many appointments and making so many important decisions.
  • Need help with daily routines.
  • Feel frustrated about the cost of your treatment.

Talking with a counselor or social worker can help you cope with these complicated emotions. Managing stress is also an important aspect of self-care. Practice meditation, mindfulness or find other ways to reduce stress and anxiety.

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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%.

Where In The Body Does Prostate Cancer Spread

Current and Emerging Therapies for Bone Metastatic Castration

Metastatic prostate cancer can affect one or more parts of your body. The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is your bones. Prostate cancer may also spread to other parts of the body such as your lymph nodes, your lungs, liver or brain.

The metastatic cancer is made up of prostate cancer cells, even if it is found in other parts of your body. It will be treated with prostate cancer treatments.


We use the term man / men in our prostate cancer information but we understand that not everyone who has a prostate gland identifies as a man.

It doesnt matter who you are or where you come from, we are here for you. For confidential advice, information and support, contact our Support Line on Freephone 1800 200 700.

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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.

Green Tea And Metastasis Of Skin Cancer

EGCG dose-dependently inhibited B16-F3m melanoma cell migration and invasion and inhibited the spread of melanoma cells on fibronectin, laminin, collagen, and Matrigel in a dose-dependent manner. EGCG significantly inhibited the tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase and the activity of MMP-9. EGCG also caused reduction in the lung metastases in mice bearing B16-F3m melanomas, but a combination of EGCG and dacarbazine was more effective than EGCG alone in reducing the number of pulmonary metastases and primary tumor growths and in increasing the survival rate of melanoma-bearing mice . EGCG and ECG were found to inhibit melanoma cell adhesion in the culture medium. The adhesion of murine melanoma cells to laminin was impaired on pretreatment with EGCG . EGCG significantly upregulated the expression of E-cadherin time and concentration dependently in human malignant melanoma A375 cell line. EGCG inhibited the invasion of human malignant melanoma cell line which correlated with the upregulation of E-cadherin expression .

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What Are The Symptoms Of Advanced Prostate Cancer And Bone Metastases

When cancer cells spread to the bones, the condition weakens the very frame on which the body rests. The cells interfere with the strength and hardness of the bones structure, interrupting its normal cycle of building up and dissolving.

Theres no cure for advanced prostate cancer, but theres a lot that doctors can do to help with the symptoms that might develop. This includes managing pain. A common misconception is that if theres cancer in the bone, there must be pain, Tagawa says. Thats not true. Cancer can be in the bone without pain. However, if there is pain, he says, it can be controlled with anticancer therapies and pain medication, and good quality of life can be maintained.

In addition to pain, some men with bone metastases develop a condition called hypercalcemia, in which, because of the damage to bones from the cancer cells, too much calcium builds up in the blood. Hypercalcemia can make you feel constipated, thirsty, sleepy, or sluggish, and it can increase the urge to urinate, according to the ACS. Over time, hypercalcemia can cause muscle and joint achiness, as well as weakness in the muscles. In advanced stages, it can cause the kidneys to shut down.

There are treatments for hypercalcemia as well as for other complications from advanced prostate cancer, such as bones that become weak and break or fracture, and for growths in the spine that can press on the spinal cord and damage nerves.

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Symptomatic treatment of an enlarged prostate usually involves a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may be the best option if you suffer from chronic urination. It will help the body adjust to the increased size of the prostate. Also, taking regular urination intervals will help retrain the bladder to function properly. Inactivity also contributes to urine retention, and cold temperatures can increase the urge to urinate.

Invasive treatment of enlarged prostate includes medication that relieves the pressure on the urethra and bladder. However, if the condition is severe, it may require surgical intervention. If treatment is not successful, the enlarged prostate can become a potentially life-threatening disease. As the hormone levels in the body change, the enlarged prostate can lead to various complications, including urinary retention and even cancer. This is why it is critical to see a doctor for further evaluation.

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Green Tea And Metastasis Of Breast Cancer

Metastasis of breast cancer is the major reason for the high mortality of breast cancer patients and is directly linked to the invasive behavior of breast cancer cells. Cancer metastasis consists of several interdependent processes including cancer cell adhesion, cancer cell migration, and invasion of cancer cells. Recently, the effects of EGCG treatment on growth and invasion in a breast carcinoma cell line resistant to tamoxifen and parental MCF-7 were reported. Treatment with EGCG caused dose-dependent downregulation of epidermal growth factor receptor phoshoporylation and EGFR mRNA expression and protein level in MCF-7Tam cells. There was also decrease in ERK1/2, phospho-ERK1/2, in vitro cell growth, MMP-2 and -9, and extracellular MMP-inducer while increase in TIMP-1 and -2 after EGCG treatment . EGC has been shown to inhibit heregulin -1-induced migration/invasion of MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells to approximately the same extent as EGCG. It was found that EGCG inhibited this migration/invasion by suppressing the HRG-stimulated activation of EGFR-related protein B2 /ErbB3/Akt, whereas the disruption of the HRG-stimulated activation of ErbB2/ErbB3 but not Akt was involved in the inhibition of migration/invasion by EGC. It was concluded that EGC and EGCG could play important role against the promotion of metastasis of breast cancer cells .

A Prostate Cancer Patient With Isolated Lung Metastases: A Case Report

Li-Xin Wu1#, Lei Lei2#, You-Cai Zhu1, Kai-Qi Du1, Xiao-Feng Li1, Hua-Fei Chen1, Wen-Xian Wang2, Chun-Wei Xu3

1 Department of Thoracic Disease Center, Zhejiang Rongjun Hospital, The Third Affiliated Hospital of Jiaxing University, Jiaxing 314000, Chinese Academy of Sciences University Cancer Hospital , Department of Respiratory Medicine, Jinling Hospital , Nanjing University School of Medicine , China

#These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to:

Abstract: Pulmonary involvement has been reported in > 40% of autopsy series in patients with metastatic prostate cancer however, isolated lung metastases have been documented in < 1% of cases and 43.5% cases underwent surgical resection and most of them have good outcome. We present a 74-year-old male Gleason high-grade prostate cancer patient with initially negative PSA and isolated pulmonary lesion which was confirmed as lung metastasis by resection. This patient received first-line endocrine therapy with leuprolide and bicalutamide endocrine and had a long-term disease-free follow-up of 3 years. The present patient had isolated lung metastasis with negative PSA, which was very rare in literature. Unexpected long-term disease-free survival was achieved after first-line endocrine therapy in this case with Gleason score of 8 metastatic prostate cancer. Whether or not the path of metastasis in this case was via lymph node jumping or hematogenous requires further investigation.

doi: 10.21037/tcr.2020.01.19

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Is Prostate Cancer Curable

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer among men, second only to skin cancer. Learning that one has any type of cancer isnt easy, but the first question on most patients minds after diagnosis is, is prostate cancer curable?

The short answer is yes, prostate cancer can be cured, when detected and treated early. The vast majority of prostate cancer cases are discovered in the early stages, making the tumors more likely to respond to treatment. Treatment doesnt always have to mean surgery or chemotherapy, either. Non-invasive radiation therapy can effectively treat prostate cancer in the case of Pasadena CyberKnife, radiosurgery treatment generally takes less than a week, and you can typically resume your normal activities the same day you receive treatment.

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Metastatic Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Current and Emerging Therapies for Bone Metastatic Castration

With metastatic prostate cancer, you may notice different symptoms than those generally associated with other stages of the disease. Some of the most frequently occurring symptoms include:

  • Bone pain, particularly in the pelvis, ribs, skull and spine
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • General feeling of being unwell
  • Changes in urinary habits, such as needing to go more often
  • Cough, breathlessness or other changes involving your lungs and chest

Not everyone with metastatic prostate cancer will experience each of these symptoms, but you should speak with your care team if you notice any such changes.

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Where Does Prostate Cancer Spread

The most common place for prostate cancer to spread to is the bones. It can also spread to the:

A large tumour in the prostate gland can spread into or press on areas around the prostate, such as the back passage or urethra. The urethra is the tube which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

What Is The Term For Cancer That Has Spread To The Lungs

Metastatic breast cancer in the lungs refers to cancer that originally developed inside the breast tissue but has spread to the lungs. Breast cancer can spread to various parts of the body. This is called metastasis. The most common sites for breast cancer metastases include the bones, brain, lungs, and liver.

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Treatment Of Lung Metastases

Treatment for lung metastases is usually based on the main type of cancer the person has. Treatment may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation therapy, or a combination of these.

Surgery may be an option if there are a small number of lung metastases and there are no metastases in other parts of the body. Also, surgery would only be used if the main cancer is under control.

Controlling symptoms is important, especially if treatment for the main cancer is not effective or may take a while to help. Shortness of breath can be one of the hardest feelings to deal with. Morphine-like medicines can be used to help decrease the feeling of shortness of breath. Anti-anxiety medicines may be helpful if the morphine-like medicines dont work.

Having trouble breathing can make you feel anxious, worried, and even like you are in a panic. Some patients find the steps below helpful.

  • A fan blowing cool air on you

Pain can also be hard to deal with, especially if you have other symptoms. Talk to your healthcare team about how you can use medicines and supportive methods to treat your pain.

Bone Metastasis: The Vicious Cycle

Treatment of Bone Metastases in Prostate Cancer

The canonical Wnt signaling pathway seems to play a role in the onset of castration resistance in PCa . Moreover, alterations of canonical Wnt signaling, such as modulation of the dickkopf genes or mutations of sclerostin , which inhibits LRP5, contribute to disrupt bone formation, a process whereby Wnt signaling exerts a crucial role . Wnt signaling also induces the expression of osteoprotegerin , which prevents the binding of RANKL to RANK, thereby inhibiting osteoclast function and leading to a bone active effect .

The TGF- superfamily also exerts a major role in the context of the bone microenvironment and its remodeling in PCa. TGF- supports the development of bone metastasis from PCa in animal models . In particular, bone morphogenetic proteins and Noggin, which antagonizes BMP signaling, are functionally involved in skeletal and joints morphogenesis, bone remodeling, and in different cellular processes, including osteogenesis . One of the main BMPs involved in the recruitment of osteoblasts is represented by BMP6 . On the other hand, the recruitment of osteoclasts and stimulation of their activity in PCa is mediated by MMP-7, which cleaves RANKL , and Noggin, which antagonizes BMPs and impairs bone formation .

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If Treatment Does Not Work

Recovery from cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.

This diagnosis is stressful, and for some people, advanced cancer may be difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.

People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment, including a hospital bed, can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.

After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor

Learning about your condition can empower you to make informed decisions. Some people only want to know the basics, while other people prefer to know every detail about their prognosis. Here are some questions you may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • Are there things I can do to improve my prognosis?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Are there clinical trial options that might be appropriate for me?
  • Will palliative care continue even if I stop cancer treatments?
  • How often will I need to schedule follow-up appointments?
  • Do I need to consider hospice care?
  • Should I choose a person to make medical decisions for me when Im unable to make them for myself?
  • What legal documents should I have in place?
  • What resources are available to help me cope with my prognosis?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A metastatic cancer diagnosis is one of the scariest things you may ever encounter. If you or a family member has been diagnosed with advanced cancer, youre probably feeling a lot of complicated emotions. While most metastatic cancers arent curable, there are treatments that can ease your symptoms and prolong your life. Ask your healthcare provider for resources and consider joining a local support group. Talking with other people who are going through the same thing can be healing during this emotionally difficult time.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/20/2021.


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