Prostate Cancer Survival Rate: Treatment & Diagnosis

Prostate cancer is a very prevalent disease among men over 66 years of age (6:10). It is very uncommon for someone younger than forty to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Statistics show that one out of every seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, at some point in their life (cancer.org).

The survival rate depends on when the individual is diagnosed. There are four stages of prostate cancer and some are broken down even further to determine the severity of the cancer. The gleason score is used, during a needle biopsy to determine, whether or not the cancer will metastasize, which is based on a score of 2-10. The higher the score, the more likely that the cancer will metastasize at some point.

Many men undergo routine physicals, which most often involves a prostate specific antigen blood test. A PSA of <4.0 ng/ML is considered normal, but <4.0 ng/ML will alert the physician to order further prostate testing. Most often than not, an elevated PSA level can be related to several benign conditions, benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate) and prostatitis (infected prostate). A needle biopsy will be ordered in cases, where the PSA is >4.0 ng/ML.

Stage I – The tumor is localized in the prostate gland and cannot be detected in imaging tests or felt during a digital rectal exam. Several tissue samples will be taken from different areas of the gland. PSA <10 and Gleason Score 6 or lower. Cancer only found in only half or less of a prostate lobe.

Stage II – Cancer found, but has not metastasized.

Stage IIA- Cancer found in tissue sample; PSA >20 and Gleason Score 7 or PSA at least 10, but >20 and Gleason Score 6 or less. Cancer found in only half or less or a prostate lobe; PSA 10 but >20 Gleason Score 6 or less or PSA >20 and Gleason Score 7. Cancer found in more than half of a prostate lobe.

Stage IIB- Cancer found in opposite sides of prostate, but cannot be felt, during digital rectal exam and cannot be detected in imaging tests. PSA any level and Gleason Score between 2-10 or PSA 20 or less and Gleason Score 2-10. PSA any level and Gleason Score 8 and higher.

Stage III- Cancer has metastasized to the outer layers of the prostate gland and potentially metastasized to seminal vesicles. PSA any level and Gleason Score between 2-10.

Stage IV- PSA any level and Gleason Score between 2-10 Cancer has metastasized to seminal vesicles, surrounding tissues or organs. Cancer potentially metastasized to seminal vesicles or surrounding tissue or organs (rectum, bladder). Metastasized to lymph nodes. Cancer has metastasized to distant parts of the body, potentially lymph nodes

 

Diagnosis

 

During a physical exam, your doctor may request to do a digital rectal exam. This is a non-invasive tests that checks the size of the prostate gland and feels for abnormalities. This test is done in the exam room and only takes about five minutes to complete. It can be a little painful or uncomfortable, during the exam, but it is totally safe and beneficial in the detection of prostate cancer. This test can be followed up with a PSA test (described above).

 

Ultrasonography Guided Biopsy of the Prostate (used during the biopsy)

MRI Guided Transrectal Biopsy of the Prostate

 

Treatment

 

Treatment for prostate cancer will depend on the diagnosis stage. If an individual is diagnosed in Stage I, they may have to undergo a simple prostatectomy (subtotal prostatectomy) and radical prostatectomy (removal of the entire prostate and seminal vesicles). In some cases a orchiectomy (removal of testes) may be required.

 

Hormone Therapy may be ordered in cases, where surgery and radiation is contraindicated. This therapy can also be ordered along with surgery.

Angiogenesis Inhibitors are often prescribed to stabilize the tumor, prevent it from growing, or to reduce its size.

Chemotherapy may be ordered with or without surgery.

Herbal Remedies have often been known to help in the slow the prostate cancer cell growth (hopkinsmedicine.org).

 

Hormone side effects can be very bothersome for most, but if they are beneficial to the treatment of prostate cancer, one should commit to the therapy.

 

Erectile Dysfunction, Decreased Sexual Drive

Weight Loss, Diarrhea, Nausea, Fatigue

Anemia (low RBC)

Enlarged Breasts, Decreased Penis Size

Higher Risk of CVD and Diabetes

               Decreased Memory Function