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What Factors Affect Prostate Cancer Life Expectancy?

By Kristeen Moore
Updated May 17, 2024
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Prostate cancer life expectancy depends on a number of factors. Once detected, prostate cancer is generally treated in its early stages. Cancer tumors that spread outside of the prostate gland might decrease life expectancy. Recurring cancer and a patient’s overall health are also determining factors when considering a prostate cancer prognosis.

Prostate cancer is diagnosed in different stages. Each stage represents the location of the cancer tumors. This type of malignancy is termed for the cancer’s origination: the prostate gland. As the cancer develops, malignant cells have the potential to spread throughout other areas of the body.

This type of cancer starts within the tissues of the prostate gland. A doctor might recommend a biopsy of the area to determine malignancy and growth. A pathologist provides a Gleason score, which indicates the stage of the cancer and the likelihood of a cancer tumor to develop in other body parts; 10 is the highest score.

Other tests are performed to help determine the stage associated with prostate cancer life expectancy. A doctor might use a combination if imaging tests if it is suspected that prostate tumors have spread. Potential tests could include an ultrasound, bone scan, and a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

There are four stages within prostate cancer. Stage I is generally associated with a high prostate cancer life expectancy, and the tumors in the prostate are small at this stage. Prostate cancer tumors are larger in stage II, and may be felt, though the tumors are still solely in the prostate gland at this early stage. Stages III and IV are associated with a lower prostate cancer life expectancy, due to the fact that malignant cells travel to other parts of the body. Patients with stage III might experience a spread of cells outside of the body in other reproductive tissues, while Stage IV is classified as cancer that spreads to bones, lymph nodes, and organs.

Prostate cancer life expectancy usually improves with surgery. A urologist may surgically remove cancer cells in the prostate, or other areas of the body. Recurring cancer flare-ups can decrease a patient’s chances of survival overtime.

Older men are usually more prone to prostate cancer development due to the fact that many men experience an increased prostate with age. In some cases, prostate cells are benign, or non-malignant, but any changes in the prostate warrant a doctor’s diagnosis. Generally, the best chance of survival is to catch prostate cancer early. Patients should pay attention to any changes in the body that could potentially be indicative of cancer-like symptoms. Some symptoms of prostate cancer might include urination troubles, frequent urination, bloody urine, and persistent pain in the hips or lower back.

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