Metastasis Prostate Cancer

June 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer

It may be called prostate cancer, but that is only because the disease begins in the prostate gland. In just about every instance, especially if it is not diagnosed early (or if it happens to be an aggressive occurrence of the disease) prostate cancer spreads to other regions of the body. After a diagnosis of the condition has been confirmed, the disease is then staged to determine how much the cancer cells from the prostate have spread to infiltrate the other parts of the body. Such cells, regardless of where they are found, are tagged metastatic prostate cancer, and not as cancers of the breast or of the bone.

Prostate cancer that has metastasized beyond the immediacy of the original organ is a problem to treat because containment is hardly possible. Ordinarily, the tumor could have been removed by surgery ? prostatectomy ? or killed by ionizing radiation from radiation treatment. In fact, there are a variety of other prostate cancer interventions that make it possible for prostate cancer to be cured in the early stages. However this is not quite the same issue when it comes to metastatic prostate cancer.

The symptoms of metastatic prostate cancer may be as mild as pain in urination (and increased frequency thereof) ? especially in instances that the spread of the carcinoma has not yet been too vast; or as intense as burning bone pain in several regions of the body. This often results from bone metastasis, which is often very difficult to treat, and even much harder to cure. The first objective in treatment would most certainly then be to curtail the spread and hopefully reverse it. To this end, hormonal therapy might seem the best option.

Hormone treatments effectively slow the progression of prostate cancer, and in some cases, the tumors have been known to shrink as a result of the therapy. But hormone treatment rarely, if ever, cures prostate cancer, and will have to be backed up by other remedies such as the two previously mentioned. For instances in which hormone treatments are ineffective, it might be the doctor’s prerogative to sanction chemotherapy or immunotherapy, depending on the merits of the case.

Late stage metastatic prostate cancer is not often considered to be curable though, and in many occurrences the oncologist in charge of the treatment might consider palliative care to be the best option, in which the symptoms of the disorder are treated or delayed, and effort is made to lengthen the life of the patient. Of course, the bone pain, which is that result of the cancer’s spread, will have to be treated decisively so as to improve the quality of life. To this end, opioid pain relievers like morphine or oxycodone may serve best, or external beam radiation therapy to provide pain relief.

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