Prostate Cancer Progression – Stage And Time Frame

December 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer Stages

Prostate cancer is one of the slowest progressing forms of cancer that there are, and it could totally be in a patient’s body for long years in is early stage gradually growing until it matures enough to begin to metastasize, and the patient might never be aware of it. That is why prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death among men in the United States – because most people are unable to determine that they suffer from the disease until it has started to spread.

The progression of prostate cancer isn’t exactly too slow once the malignant cells have been able to make their way out of the prostate into the bloodstream and lymphatic system. Because of variations that occur even in the characteristics of prostate cancer, it is difficult to state precisely how long this might take, but patients are warned to be very vigilant and not take any chances. Whilst some patients may actually not need to worry about starting treatment for as many as three to five years after diagnosis, others whose condition has been diagnosed and staged as progressive and hormone refractory may have to commence aggressive treatment with immediate effect.

The time frame between diagnosis and cure depends also on the nature of the cancer, and on the treatment administered. Patients treated by prostate cancer surgery (radical prostatectomy) can have their tumors removed and the cancer done away with in virtually no time. Radiation therapy happens to take a few weeks before the treatment is complete; and hormone treatments may continue for years. It would have been easy if all prostate cancers could be treated by prostatectomy, but complications that may arise due to metastasis of the disease may make that option unviable, and the patient’s consternation about possible side effects may also be deterrent.

Concurrently, administering the wrong type of remedy to treat a prostate cancer patient would be grossly irresponsible on the part of the overseeing oncologist. A soft approach for an aggressive or advanced disease or a complicated and damaging therapy for a non aggressive form of prostate cancer could do more damage to the patient than is entirely necessary. This is why it is critical for them to accurately and adequately ‘stage’ the sarcoma before they commence treatment. After diagnosis, a prostate cancer patient therefore often has to go through a series of other tests to determine just which other parts of the body the disease may have metastasized to.

There are several instances in which a patient may be diagnosed with such slow growing prostate cancer that the best treatment for him would be watchful waiting because the specialists suspect that some other disease, infection, or natural cause, can result in the death of the patient before the symptoms of prostate cancer catch up to him. I have however never seen this applied to a young person, although it is rare enough among the young. Late stage prostate cancer in an elderly man may be considered in similar vein and treated to palliative care.

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