Can Prostate Cancer Spread to the Brain?
Cancer that grows originally in another part of the body and then spreads to the brain is called as metastatic brain cancerous tumor. Prostate cancer (a common malignant tumor in men) can spread to distinct organs, too. But can it spread to the brain?
Cancer from other sites of the body that spread to the brain is called secondary brain cancer or brain metastases. This kind of brain cancer is far more common than primary brain cancer (PBC), cancerous cells that start and grow originally in the brain.
And there are many malignant cancerous cells from another part of the body that can affect the brain. But the most common types are cancers of;
- breast (typically in women)
- germ cell tumors
- and some sarcomas (cancerous cells that grow in the muscles, blood vessels, tendons, cartilage, bone, and certain tissues)
About 25 percent of ‘all cases of cancer that spread through the body’ lead to brain metastases. This suggests that it occurs about 10-30 percent of cancers in adults. That’s why it is much more common than PBC, as noted before.
Brain metastases are commonly classified by the following factors:
- The location of cancerous tumor in the brain and how large it is!
- The affected tissues in the brain.
- The original location of where the cancer comes from. In rare cases, this original location is unknown or difficult to be identified.
- And other factors.
The cancerous tumor that grows inside the brain can be large enough which then may eventually cause pressure on the nearby tissues /parts of the brain, causing swelling and increasing pressure within the skull.
The symptoms may include:
- Poor in coordination, increasing your risk of falling.
- General feeling of illness.
- Sometime patients may experience fever.
- Unusual fatigue (lethargy), typically with unknown reason.
- New unusual headache, more severe or may last longer than usual.
- Difficulty thinking, poor judgment, or memory loss.
- New seizures.
- Difficulty saying a word or sentence.
- Changes in vision.
- Vomiting with /without nausea.
- Changes in emotional and personality.
- Changes in sensation such as pain, numbness, or tingling.
Prostate cancer is rarely associated with the brain for its metastasis. But as many other things in cancer, it can spread to any site of the body, too – including the brain. For in-depth information about the most common sites where it spreads, see this section!
In general, cancers of prostate and colon are rarely linked to the brain metastasis. But yap, there is a chance for them to affect the brain, too.
For prostate cancer, when it does spread to the distinct organ, typically it spreads to the bone. Here is a helpful section to understand this issue!
The good news, this male cancer is more likely to grow so slowly. Even there are also many men suggested to delay taking the treatment since taking cancer treatments could cause both short term and long term side effects – and the cancer is less likely to cause serious effect within their lifetime.
In fact, many men with prostate cancer die because of another health condition or other causes – not due to their cancer. Delaying the treatment doesn’t mean the cancer is ignored, but it is continuously monitored. If there is a risk that it might start to spread, the treatment is immediately necessary!
The classification of brain metastases plays a key role in determining the treatment plan. The general health of patient has an effect, too – since some patients are not able to take certain treatments.
But in general, like most things in cancer, the main treatments include;
- Or hormone therapy. For brain metastases due to prostate cancer, hormone therapy is intended to reduce or stop the production of testosterone, food for cancer in the prostate to grow.
Radiation is commonly used if there is more than one cancerous tumor in the brain. But if doctors think that they can completely remove the tumor with surgery, then surgical treatment option is more recommended, particularly true if there is only one cancerous tumor.
In addition, there is a method of treatment called stereotactic radiosurgery. There are only certain hospitals that have and use it. Actually, it is a kind of radiotherapy but can provide highly precise administration of radiation in a large dose to the cancerous site in the brain.
Brain metastasis is commonly incurable. The main goal of the treatment is usually not to cure the cancer, but to help control the cancer, relieve the symptoms, and improve functioning.