Advanced Prostate Cancer and Bone Metastasis

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Advanced prostate cancer is characterized by the spread or metastasis of the mutated cells from the prostate gland via the lymphatic system and the bloodstream to other locations around the body, especially the bones. Bone metastasis in advanced prostate cancer is the result of cells breaking off from the primary tumor and travelling the bloodstream until they become stuck in the bones. This process is called angiogenesis. As with the primary tumor, these metastatic cancerous cells also begin to multiply uncontrollably, causing various other symptoms in the patient. Bone metastasis can usually be extremely painful for the patient, and naturally requires treatments and medication in order to alleviate the pain.

Incidentally, the primary cases of bone cancer itself are relatively rare, so that most of the cases known are of patients who have developed it as a result of advanced prostate cancer metastasis. The symptoms typically are stiffness or frequent soreness in areas such as the lower back, hips, and thighs, while pain is always there ? although some patients will experience pain more severe than others.

While we’re on the subject, It should be noted that bone metastasis, while being an almost normal cause of cancer of the prostate progression, is not at all that common, especially in recent times. Due to more widespread screening and better diagnostics, most prostate conditions today are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, at which point it is generally considered curable. As a matter of fact, an oncologist will perhaps inform the patient that he has close to ten years of being bio chemically disease free, or even more. Also, because most cases of this cancer grow very slowly, most patients will more likely die with the disease than from it.

One viable option in early stage prostate cancer, watchful waiting, is however not an option for bone metastasis; chemotherapy is. You see, at this point there are not observing to see if the disease will progress or not ? they already know that; now they are merely trying to limit the progression of the disease. Chemo kills cancerous cells and delays the symptoms of the disease, also aiding in alleviating the pain from bone metastasis.

Other therapies that work in a similar manner to chemotherapy are hormone therapy, radioisotopes, and External Beam Radiation Therapy (EBRT). Life expectancy may also be extended by late stage prostatectomy, although that is still in rather hot debate in the medical community. However, palliation appears to be the best course of treatment for such a patient.

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