What Is Metastatic Prostate Cancer?

Table of Contents:

  1. How Prostate Cancer Spreads
  2. Chances of Developing Metastatic Cancer 
  3. How Doctors Find Metastatic Prostate Cancer

 

If your prostate cancer has progressed to other areas of your body, your doctor may inform you that the cancer is  “metastatic" or it has “metastasized."

 

Prostate cancer frequently spreads to the bones or lymph nodes. It’s even common for it to spread to the liver or lungs. However, it is much less capable of spreading to other organs, such as the brain.

 

Even if the cancer progresses, it still remains as prostate cancer. Metastatic prostate cancer in your hip bone, for example, is not bone cancer. It contains the same prostate cancer cells that were present in the original tumor.

 

A form of cancer that has advanced is classified as metastatic prostate cancer. No cure is available , but it can be treated and managed. For many years, most men with advanced prostate cancer live a regular life.

 

The treatment’s objectives are to:

 

  • Manage the symptoms
  • Decelerate the rate your cancer progress
  • Decrease the size of the tumor

 

“Locally advanced" refers to some cancer that has progressed. This indicates that the prostate cancer has spread to surrounding tissue. But since it hasn’t progressed to other areas of the body, it is not exactly similar to metastatic cancer. Prostate cancers that have locally advanced can even be cured.

 

How Prostate Cancer Spreads

Cancer cells may sometimes break away from the original tumor and migrate to a blood or lymph vessel. They move around the body once they’ve entered. At some point, the cells come to a halt in capillaries, which are tiny blood vessels.

 

The cells then split through the blood vessel’s wall and bind themselves to whichever tissue they come across. To carry nutrients towards the new tumor, they replicate and develop new blood vessels. Prostate cancer prospers in specific locations, such as lymph nodes, ribs, pelvic bones, and the spine.

 

The majority of cancer cells that break away generate fresh tumors. Many others might not make it into the bloodstream. Some cells die at the site of the new tissue. Others may remain inactive for several years or never become active at all.

Chances of Developing Metastatic Prostate Cancer

In their lifetime, about half of men diagnosed with local prostate cancer will develop metastatic cancer. It is possible to lower this rate by having the cancer detected and treated during its early phases.

 

Only a limited percentage of men are not diagnosed with prostate cancer until it reaches a metastatic level. When doctors obtain a small amount of tissue sample and examine the cells, they will be able to determine if it is metastatic cancer.

 

How Doctors Find Metastatic Prostate Cancer

When you’re informed to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, the doctor will order tests like:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • PET scans

 

These tests may concentrate on your skeleton, as well as your belly and pelvic. Doctors would be able to screen for signs of cancer progress through this way.

 

Your doctor may order a bone scan if you are experiencing symptoms such as bone pain and broken bones for no apparent cause. It can reveal whether the cancer has spread to your bones.

 

Blood tests, inclusive of a PSA level check, would be requested by the doctor to search for other indications that the cancer is progressing.

 

PSA is a protein that the prostate gland produces. One of the first signs that the cancer is progressing is an increase in PSA. But  PSA levels can also be elevated even in the absence of cancer, for example, in cases where you have an enlarged prostate or a prostate infection.

 

Your PSA levels should begin to decrease after treatment, particularly if your prostate was surgically removed. PSA levels are normally examined by doctors several weeks after surgery. The increase in PSA after treatment may imply that cancer has returned or begun spreading. Your doctor may perform the same tests that were used to diagnose the original cancer, such as a CT scan, MRI, or bone scan, in that situation. Axumin, a radiotracer, could be used in conjunction with a PET scan to help identify and locate any recurrent cancer.

Despite its rarity, it is still possible to have metastatic prostate without experiencing elevated PSA level. 

Sources

Referenced on  10.4.2021

  1. https://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/metastatic-prostate-cancer 
  2. CancerCare: “Living With Metastatic Prostate Cancer," “Caring for Your Bones When You Have Prostate Cancer."
  3. National Cancer Institute: “Metastatic Cancer."
  4. American Cancer Society: “What is advanced cancer?" “What is metastatic cancer?" “Can advanced or metastatic cancer be prevented?" “What’s New on Prostate Cancer Research? Topics," “Prostate cancer that remains or recurs after treatment."

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