Prostate cancer prognosis generally varies from person to person, and may be affected by the type of Prostate Cancer Treatment that is administered to the patient, as well as the general state of health that the patient is as at the time of commencement of the therapy.
The most important factor however in determining what the chances of survival are for a man who has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer is the stage of the cancer as at the time of diagnosis. This is partly why so much effort is placed on staging the Prostate Cancer disease; so that they can know how far the disease has spread (or metastasized) in the body of the patient, and thus decide on treatment while also having an idea of how well the patient might respond over the course of the intervention.
Early stage prostate cancer is not only treatable, but it is also curable, to the extent that there are excellent five year outcomes of patients treated with radical prostatectomy – prostate cancer surgery – or early stage radiation therapy.
According to the American Cancer Society, the survival rate for men treated for early stage disease at five years is almost a hundred percent; at then years also, it still stands at an impressive 93%, and at fifteen years it drops to 77%, which is not too bad considering that the man will likely be well stricken with age at this time anyhow.
The story with late stage disease is a different matter altogether. Perhaps the biggest matter to realize first and foremost is that advanced stage prostate cancer is not really so curable – it is treatable, but it cannot be really cured – so whatever treatments are ordered by the oncologist or urologist will likely be to provide palliative care to the said patient, and little else.
Rarely are advanced stage prostate cancer patients expected to live longer than three years, although that also is determined by how aggressive the cancer is, how extensively it has metastasized through the body, and how well the patient responds to therapy. There are actually men who have lived as long as eight years after the diagnosis and with proper care before eventually dying – and there are those (very few) who have lived even further than that, although the doctors would hardly acknowledge them, putting them down as anomalous instances, exceptions that prove the rule.
It might be possible to further extend life expectancy for such a patient, say certain published research reports, but that has not been confirmed. According to this finding, prostatectomy can double or even triple the survival rate for advanced prostate cancer, but as said, this claim is yet being studied and may take a few years before it becomes founded… or not. In the meantime, men with advanced prostate cancer may only look forward to… er, five years?
Prostate cancer prognosis may vary with respect to the stage at which the disease was detected, how aggressive the cancer is perceived to be, the kind of treatment that are administered to help the patient, the patient’s state of general health at the time of treatment.
Apart from that, it also includes the state of mind of the patient – sure, most people may not want to acknowledge it, but how a man feels about himself and the disease he has to deal with does play a role in determining whether he might survive it or not (treatment or not).
According to the American Cancer Society, due to improved and more widespread screening, a prostate cancer diagnosis is no longer a death sentence as it was a couple of decades ago. These days, most prostate cancers are caught early, so that treatment can be given to the patient and he can recover from the disease in good time. As a matter of fact, there is now a confidence close to a hundred percent that the cancer will NOT relapsed within the next five years.
As a matter of fact, the survival rate for early stage prostate cancer treated and cured effectively is still a comfortable 93% at ten years after treatment. At 15 years, prognosis typically depicts a 77% chance of survival, which is still fair.
Based on this, it is reasonable to expect about 50% of such patients to still be alive at twenty years – not bad for the treatment of a disease that actually has no definitive cure and was once considered to be a killer disease. The number of people who die from the disease each year is however still too large for comfort.
There isn’t as much confidence in prostate cancer that was diagnosed late, which according to the ACS constitutes about 10% of all diagnosis. Because there is no curing the disease at this stage, they can only attempt to prolong his life with various treatments. The level of advancement of the tumor and the effectiveness of the treatment will go a great length in determining prognosis, but generally most physicians do not offer a patient with advanced stage prostate cancer more than three years initially.
A lot of patients under palliative care actually do make it past the three year mark, at which point life expectancy might be extended to five, and then to eight years. Few patients with advanced prostate cancer make it past eight years from the diagnosis, even with the best of treatment, although it does happen.
At that point, most oncologists would probably just give up about seeing the man die. There are talks in the medical community about a late stage prostatectomy further extending life expectancy to possibly even 14 years, but those have not been confirmed by research.
There are various forms cancer all around the world today, and they all have their own different characteristics and defining features. For prostate cancer, one of its most defining features is the fact that the melanoma does not develop very rapidly. The syndrome could be there, the cells in your prostate gland mutating for years and you wouldn’t be any wiser. To make it worse, the syndrome does not have any know symptoms at this stage; then suddenly one day, you could need to pee and find that urinating was too painful, and when you ejaculate, you can see blood in your semen.
Based on the slowness of prostate cancer when developing in the organ itself, it is possible for the patient to live out the rest of his life without even feeling any of the symptoms the sarcoma. As a matter of fact, he could die from another disease or symptom of aging before the melanoma even catches up to him.
When you start to feel any painful symptoms of prostate cancer, however, the chances are that disease has developed enough to start to grow outside of your prostate gland. Unfortunately, this usually implies that the rate of growth of the prostate cancer cells would have sped up, meaning that it could spread quickly, using your lymphatic nodes and your bloodstream as conduits. Eventually metastatic sarcomas from the prostate often end up in the bones of the patient all over his body, and this often leads to complicatedness of treatment procedures, and even worse prognosis in treatment.
Advanced stage prostate cancer is difficult to treat at best, usually requiring a combination of therapies from surgery to hormonal, to radiation, to chemo, and even immunotherapy. Since there is no guaranteed cure for the condition, it is common to have the specialist take his time deciding on the best course of treatment for the syndrome. This often has to be done with your consent too, because they are possibilities of side effects that you totally need to be aware of. As soon as you are sure that you are ok with the therapy or medication, they can start treating you.
Watchful waiting is one treatment technique that is employed when they believe that your prostate cancer is the really slow growing type that could take the whole of what is left of your life without getting complicated. It is even possible as stated earlier, for you to never get any symptoms from the disease. If you it is suddenly found that the rate of growth of your prostate cancer starts to pick up, they might then decide to operate, or administer a treatment that is more deliberate.
In other instance, you might have some kind of hormone refractory prostate cancer in the very advanced stage of the disease. If they believe that they can no longer arrest the disease, the specialist could simply present you with the option of palliative care, in which they help to manage the pain and discomfort, and prevent further symptoms of prostate cancer from hitting you while you carefully slip into.
Basically, the rate of growth of prostate cancer varies in different patients, and that is why they sometime treat patients in different ways.