Typically, each stage of prostate cancer has different prognosis. In general, the advanced stages of the disease are much more difficult to treat than when the disease is still at early stage ‘not yet spread’. What are factors that affect the outlook and life expectancy of patient? The following are some statistics for each stage of this disease.
You might also like to know more about how fast prostate cancer spreads and what are the most common sites /organs of the body for the metastasis of this cancer in this section, before continuing
One thing you need to clearly understand that there is no any statistic that can be detail enough to tell you about what will happen. In other words, this statistic is only purposed for general information! In fact, each case of cancer is unique. So, there is always a chance and a hope for anyone who diagnosed with cancer.
Advanced prostate cancer symptoms
The symptoms of the disease are more likely to occur when the disease at advanced stage. This is the most challenging for doctors, because the early warning signs that are more likely to not occur will increase the number of patients diagnosed with the disease at later stages.
Once the cancerous tumor is bigger in size and also spreads to nearby sites or even other distinct organs of the body, there will be more complications that can be generated. These may include:
- Infection associated with the male urinary tract system which typically followed with some common unfriendly signs such as frequent & urgency urination, pain when you pee, and fever.
- Kidney failure symptoms, such as producing little urine (usually followed with little discomfort) or even not urinating – despite the patients are hydrated (having plenty of fluid /drinking enough fluid).
- The growth of cancerous tumor in the prostate that is bigger enough in size can block the small tubes (ureters) that connect the kidneys & the bladder, and a small tube (urethra) that carry urine from bladder to outside the body. As a result, patients may experience some problems associated with urination such as urinating little and full bladder that cause pain. Read more how does this cancer affect the male urinary system in here!
- And deep bone pain and fracture – with bones of hips, back, and thighs are usually the most vulnerable when cancer of prostate spreads to the bones.
Understanding n-years survival statistics
5-year survival and 10-year survival are two most common n-years that used in the statistic of survival rate for cancer. These may cause more confusion and flurry than any others.
5-year survival is commonly used to represent the n% of patients were alive about 5 years after the diagnosis was made. However, this only ‘estimates’ the range of 5 years after the diagnosis for the patients lived and then died. It actually also means that some of these patients will be cured, while others will not – depending on the number of percentage!
How about the chance of the removed cancer to reoccur or come back?
As mentioned before, many studies and statistics often follow patients up for 5 /10 year. Prostate cancer is one of cancers that less likely to reoccur after 5 years – particularly true for the disease that diagnosed at early stage. And the range of 5 years survival is also often used to connote ‘cure’, though actually it doesn’t (particularly for the disease that diagnosed at advanced stages)!
For most types of cancers (including for prostate cancer), the chance of recurrence of them after five year survival is much lower than if compared when they are after two years. In other words, the chance for cancer of prostate to come back decreases in line with the more time passes.
The major factors that affect the outlook of patient
Generally, there are 3 crucial factors that affect the prognosis. These include:
- The stages of prostate cancer! Perhaps the stage of the disease is the most significant factor in determining the outlook of patient. No matter the score of Gleason grade and PSA level (the next factors that affect prognosis) – in fact, the early stage of prostate cancer is much easier to treat than others at later stages. But patients with early stage and also have lower levels of ‘Gleason grade & PSA’ are more likely to have better prognosis than others who also have early stage of prostate cancer but have higher levels of Gleason score & PSA.
- The level of Gleason grade.
- And the level of PSA (prostate specific antigen – a kind of protein that produced by both normal cells and abnormal cells of prostate).
Gleason score and PSA level are closely associated with the level of the cancer’s aggressiveness. The higher Gleason score is almost always associated with the cancerous cells that grow and spread more quickly.
And for higher level of PSA, it sometime points to the cancer that grows more quickly – in other words, there are also some patients with low PSA but they have aggressively prostate cancer. The Gleason score and PSA level can be determined during tests in diagnosing prostate cancer.
Advanced prostate cancer life expectancy and survival rate
As mentioned before, early stages of the disease (stage 1 and stage 2 – or also familiar called localized stages) are more likely to have better prognosis than later stages.
According to the Cancer Research UK, there is about 90 percent (900 out every 1000 patients at stage 1 and stage 2) will live more than five years after the diagnosis was made, and about 65-90 percent will live for at least ten years! However, these statistics are relative – don’t include patients who died due to other health conditions.
Then, how about with the prognosis for the advanced stages?
Stage III /also familiar called locally advanced stage
The survival rate of this group may be the most difficult to be analyzed in statistic, because there are some different groups of patients with stage 3 and there are also a lot of different treatments types and combinations involved in this stage.
Therefore, generally the data of statistic for this locally advance stage usually comes from the clinical trials. There is about 70-80 percent (7-8 out of every 10 patients) will live for at least five year.
Stage IV (the most advanced stage)
If compared to the previous stages, this stage has the worst life expectancy. There is only about 30 percent (1 of every 3 patients with stage 4) who have life expectancy for live at least five years after the diagnosis was made.
Again, this estimation is relative which only associated with the cancer of prostate (doesn’t include other health conditions that may lead to the death in this group).
Additionally, most cases of prostate cancer occur in elderly men and the disease also often develops very slowly (with lower levels PSA and Gleason score). For this reason, there is a chance for an elderly patient who doesn’t die due to the disease.