Sunday, September 25, 2022

What Happens When Prostate Cancer Comes Back

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Treatment Options After Recurrence

What Happens After a Prostate Cancer Biopsy?

After surgery to remove your prostate

PSA levels are usually extremely low about a month after surgery. You may hear your doctor saying that your PSA level is undetectable . If your PSA level starts to rise, this might mean the cancer has come back.

Your doctor might recommend:

  • hormone treatment

After external beam radiotherapy

PSA levels usually get lower slowly over months or years. Defining the limit for cure is complicated and you should ask your cancer specialist. Usually a level of 2 ng/ml above the lowest point after treatment is taken as a sign of recurrence, or 3 increases in a row .

Your treatment options may be:

  • surgery to remove your prostate
  • hormone treatment
  • high frequency ultrasound

After internal beam radiotherapy

PSA can rise temporarily after brachytherapy. This is called PSA bounce. The level then lowers slowly. Usually a level of 2 ng/ml above the lowest point after treatment is taken as a sign of recurrence.

After hormone treatment

If you are given hormone treatment alone, the PSA can rise after you finish hormone treatment. It may then become stable or static. If it rises this may suggest the cancer is becoming resistant to the hormone treatment.

If hormone treatment is no longer controlling your cancer, your doctor may suggest:

  • abiraterone

Treatments For Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Recurrent prostate cancer is cancer that comes back after it has been treated. Recurrent prostate cancer is also diagnosed when theprostate-specific antigen level starts to rise quickly after initialtreatment but there are no other signs of cancer. This is called a biochemicalrecurrence or PSA failure.

The following aretreatment options for recurrent prostatecancer. Your healthcare teamwill suggest treatments based on your needs and work with you to develop atreatment plan. The type of treatment that you receive will depend on:

  • the treatments you’ve already had
  • where the cancer comes back
  • whether the cancer has spread
  • your overall healthand whether you have other illnesses
  • your age and life expectancy
  • your personal preferences

How Is Recurrence Measured

If treatment is unsuccessful, and the cancer is unable to be controlled, it can spread to the tissues and lymph nodes surrounding the prostate, as well as to the rectum, muscles that control urinary functions, or pelvic wall. From here, the cancer can then progress to become classified as distant, traveling through lymph channels or the bloodstream to affecting far away organs or organ systems. At this point, the cancer has metastasized.

If the cancer does progress to this point, what is also called advanced cancer, your doctor will help you determine what treatment options, if any, are best for your situation. If the cancer has progressed beyond curative options, treatments may be focused on comfort care and alleviating pain instead.

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Understanding The Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Recurrent prostate cancer is when prostate cancer returns after the initial treatment or partial to complete remission has occurred. This is due to the reemergence of surviving prostate cancer cells that have grown large enough to be detected.

Following a prostatectomy, your prostate-specific antigen levels being to decrease. Eventually, they are no longer detectible, which is an indication that prostate cancer is no longer present. However, there is no clear reference for a normal PSA. It differs between men and can be affected by a number of factors. Following your initial prostate cancer treatment, PSA levels should stabilize and be low enough to where theyre not detected on blood tests. In some cases, PSA levels begin to rise again, indicating a need for further tests.

Even if youve had a prostatectomy, prostate cancer can recur in the immediately surrounding tissue, lymph nodes, seminal vesicles, muscles that control urination, the rectum, the wall of the pelvic, or metastasize into lymph nodes and bones further away.

Factors That Increase Risk Of Recurrence

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There are many different factors that can help you determine what your risk of recurrence is. Your doctor will go over these during the initial course of treatment, therefore stressing the importance of follow up appointments.

One factor is the involvement of your lymph nodes. If your cancer has metastasized to your lymph nodes, recurrence is more likely. Similarly, the larger the tumor, the more likely that you are to experience complications and rates of recurrence. If the tumor is intertwined or growing into other areas of your body, this also increases risk. The Gleason score is a system of grading your prostate cancer based on severity and localization. The higher the grade, the more likely youll experience recurrence. Finally, the stage of prostate cancer affects recurrence rates. When caught early, recurrence is not as likely as cancers that are in stage three or four.

Cancer can be extremely aggressive and will change your life forever. Make sure that youre doing everything you can to avoid potential problems. Eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Strengthening your immune system is a great way to reduce your risk of recurrence.

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Even When Prostate Cancer Returns Most Survive

By Anne Harding, Reuters Health

5 Min Read

NEW YORK – Men who show signs that their disease has returned after prostate cancer treatment are still more likely to die of other causes, a new study in US veterans shows.

Nevertheless, researchers say the study underscores the need to find a better way to identify the minority of men who will die of prostate cancer after disease recurrence.

We often dont know what to tell these men in terms of their risk of dying of prostate cancer, Dr. Timothy Daskivich of the University of California, Los Angeles, told Reuters Health.

Detecting prostate cancer is most often done with a blood test that measures concentrations of prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, a protein made in the prostate that becomes elevated in men with prostate cancer.

After treating prostate cancer with surgery or radiation, PSA levels are monitored. If PSA levels begin to increase, this can serve as an early indicator of disease recurrence. But the effect of a rising PSA after treatment — also known as biochemical recurrence — on mens subsequent risk of dying from prostate cancer is not clear.

To investigate, Dr. Edward M. Uchio of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven and Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven and his colleagues looked at 623 men who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1991 and 1995 and were followed for up to 16 years after treatment.

During follow up, 420 men died, but only 86 died of prostate cancer.

Managing Bone Pain And Weakness

Symptoms like nausea, hot flashes, and pain can usually be relieved with medication. Some people find that complimentary treatments like acupuncture or massage help manage side effects.

Your doctor may also recommend orthopedic surgery to stabilize your bones, relieve pain, and help prevent bone fractures.

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How The Prostate Changes As You Age

Because the prostate gland tends to grow larger with age, it may squeeze the urethra and cause problems in passing urine. Sometimes men in their 30s and 40s may begin to have these urinary symptoms and need medical attention. For others, symptoms aren’t noticed until much later in life. An infection or a tumor can also make the prostate larger. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any of the urinary symptoms listed below.

Tell your doctor if you have these urinary symptoms:

  • Are passing urine more during the day
  • Have an urgent need to pass urine
  • Have less urine flow
  • Feel burning when you pass urine
  • Need to get up many times during the night to pass urine

Growing older raises your risk of prostate problems. The three most common prostate problems are inflammation , enlarged prostate , and prostate cancer.

One change does not lead to another. For example, having prostatitis or an enlarged prostate does not increase your risk of prostate cancer. It is also possible for you to have more than one condition at the same time.

Why Cancer Might Come Back

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Cancer might come back some time after the first treatment. This idea can be frightening. There are different reasons for why cancer might come back. These reasons are:

  • the original treatment didn’t get rid of all the cancer cells and those left behind grew into a new tumour
  • some cancer cells have spread elsewhere in the body and started growing there to form a tumour

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Treatment Of Rising Psa

If PSA levels are rising slowly or by a small amount, a person may not need treatment. A doctor usually considers an individuals overall health, medical history, and age when giving advice on treatment.

Doctors often use active surveillance if PSA levels are rising. Active surveillance is a series of regular tests and health checks, with treatment only if necessary. Prostate cancer often progresses very slowly, so it may be many years before a person needs treatment.

If a person has had a prostatectomy, a doctor may also recommend radiation therapy, which kills cancer cells using high-energy particles.

Radiation therapy is not suitable for everyone who has had a prostatectomy. If a person had radiation therapy before surgery, they cannot usually have this treatment again. Having radiation therapy a second time can cause side effects.

Doctors may also use hormone therapy to shrink a persons tumors. This can make other treatments such as radiation therapy more effective.

It is not always possible to prevent PSA levels from rising. The best way to safeguard health after having a prostatectomy is by undergoing regular medical checks.

  • stopping smoking or using tobacco products
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a healthful diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • limiting alcohol intake to a moderate amount

What Happens At A Follow

Discussion with your doctor or nurse

At each appointment, your doctor or nurse will ask how youve been since your last appointment.

Tell them about any symptoms or treatment side effects youve had, as well as any other problems or concerns. You can tell them how you are feeling emotionally as well as physically. You can also discuss any practical problems you might have, such as problems at work or with day-to-day activities. You may be given a questionnaire about your physical, social, emotional and practical needs. You might hear this called a holistic needs assessment form.

Your GP or hospital doctor or nurse can help you deal with side effects, or refer you to someone else who can. For example, if you have problems with leaking urine , they might refer you to a continence service. Or if you have problems getting or keeping erections , they can refer you to an erectile dysfunction service. They can also help you get support for emotional problems, such as feeling anxious or depressed, and practical problems, such as managing your finances.

You might feel embarrassed talking about some of the side effects of treatments, such as erection problems. But remember doctors and nurses see people with these problems every day, so be as open as you can. They are there to help.

PSA test

You may be asked to avoid any vigorous exercise or ejaculating in the 48 hours before a PSA test, as this could cause a temporary rise in your PSA level.

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Tips To Get The Most From Your Follow

Write down any questions or concerns beforehand

It’s easy to forget what you want to say once youre at your appointment.

Bring someone with you

It can be hard to take everything in at your appointments. Some people find it helpful to take someone with them, to listen and discuss things with later. If your appointment is on the phone, you could ask a friend or family member to listen with you.

Make notes

It can help to write things down during or after your appointment. Theres space for this in the appointment diary in our booklet, Follow-up after prostate cancer treatment: What happens next?

Ask to record your appointment

You could do this using your phone or another recording device. You have the right to record your appointment if you want to because its your personal data. But let your doctor or nurse know if you are recording them.

Ask for help

If there is anything bothering you, let your doctor or nurse know.

Ask for copies of any letters

If your appointment is at the hospital, ask for a copy of the letter that is sent to your GP. This will happen automatically at some hospitals. It will help to remind you of what was said at your appointment. If you don’t understand the letter, call your main contact at the hospital or contact our Specialist Nurses.

Talking With Your Doctor

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Different kinds of doctors and other health care professionals manage prostate health. They can help you find the best care, answer your questions, and address your concerns. These health care professionals include:

  • Family doctors and internists
  • Physician assistants and nurse practitioners
  • Urologists, who are experts in diseases of the urinary tract system and the male reproductive system
  • Urologic oncologists, who are experts in treating cancers of the urinary system and the male reproductive system
  • Radiation oncologists, who use radiation therapy to treat cancer
  • Medical oncologists, who treat cancer with medications such as hormone treatments and chemotherapy
  • Pathologists, who identify diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope

View these professionals as your partnersâexpert advisors and helpers in your health care. Talking openly with your doctors can help you learn more about your prostate changes and the tests to expect.

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What Is Considered An Elevated Psa After Prostatectomy

After radical prostatectomy, the doctors will perform a PSA test in order to determine whether there are some prostate cells left in the body. This usually happens when the disease is advanced at the time of surgery and could have already spread to other parts of the body. It is considered elevated PSA after prostatectomy a PSA greater than 0.2 ng/ml. If the prostate cells are grown enough to generate detectable levels of PSA, this could be an alarming point both for the patient and the doctor.

It is important to note that a level of PSA that is not alarming when first diagnosed with prostate cancer is a reason for concern when being tested after surgery. The reason is that usually, the prostate generates a certain level of PSA. But after being removed, the level of PSA is expected to be zero unless the prostate cells had already spread to other parts of the body.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, about 20-30% of men have PSA recurrence after five years of initial prostate cancer treatment . As a patient, the prospect of PSA recurrence can be very worrisome. What many patients do not know is that not all modified levels of PSA after prostate cancer treatment indicate the same diagnosis. Some types of levels are much more troublesome than others and treatment approaches can vary tremendously case by case. Not all changes in the PSA mean a recurrence of prostate cancer after robotic surgery or other forms of treatment.

Prostate Cancer Expertise At Scca

Data collected from cancer centers across the country show that men who begin their prostate cancer treatment at SCCA have higher survival rates on average than those who started treatment at other centers.

We have world-class urologic oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and pathologists who specialize in prostate cancer the most advanced diagnostic, treatment and recovery programs and extensive support.

SCCA patients have access to advanced treatments being explored in ongoing prostate cancer clinical trials conducted at SCCA, Fred Hutch and UW Medicine. Our doctors and scientists are at the forefront of research to better prevent, diagnose and treat prostate cancer and to improve quality of life for survivors, including through the Institute for Prostate Cancer Research, a Fred HutchâUW Medicine collaboration.

Your SCCA doctors will explain all your options and recommend a treatment plan based on the grade and stage of your prostate cancer and several other factors, including your age, your general health, potential side effects and the probability of curing your disease, extending your life or relieving your symptoms.

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Who Is More Likely To Have Prostate Cancer Recurrence

In general, the further your cancer has spread and the more aggressive it is, the more likely it is to recur. Specific factors include:

  • Tumor size: In general, the larger the tumor, the more likely it is to recur.
  • Gleason score: A higher Gleason score means a more aggressive cancer and a higher rate of recurrence.
  • Cancer staging: Staging refers to how far the cancer has spread. Higher stage cancers have spread further at initial treatment and have higher rates of recurrence.
  • Involvement of the lymph nodes: Prostate cancer that has entered the lymph nodes prior to treatment is more likely to recur.

Dry Orgasm And Infertility

What is a Positive Margin After a Prostatectomy?

Both the prostate and the glands responsible for semen production are removed during surgery, which is a common prostate cancer treatment. If you received this treatment, youd still be able to have an orgasm but youd no longer ejaculate.

This means that youll no longer be fertile. If you plan to have children in the future, you may consider banking your sperm before your surgery.

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What Factors Influence Cancer Predictions If The Psa Level Is Elevated

As previously noted, PSA rising after surgery can mean many different things in terms of the status of prostate cancer. These different prognoses are based on several different factors, outlined below:

  • Gleason Score of Prostate Cancer: The Gleason score is a measure of how aggressive the cells of prostate cancer are. The higher the score, the more aggressive cancer. Men with higher Gleason scores who experience PSA recurrence are at greater risk for metastasis of prostate cancer than those men with lower Gleason scores. Is the Gleason Score 7 or less or is it 8 or higher?
  • Time from Surgery: How soon after surgery the PSA reappears is one indicator specialists use to determine the aggressiveness of cancer. Generally, the longer the time between surgery and PSA recurrence, the less likely cancer is aggressive and going to spread. In turn, the better rate of survival will be. Is the time greater or less than 2 years?
  • PSA Doubling Time: The term refers to the time it takes for the PSA to double in value. The value measures the rate at which the PSA rises, and can be a very significant indicator of the aggressiveness of cancer. Men with a shorter PSA doubling time postoperatively are more likely to have more aggressive disease. In these cases, a more aggressive secondary treatment plan may be advised. Is the PSA doubling in less or greater than 10 months?

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