What Factors Affect Prostate Cancer Survival Rates?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
If prostate cancer is detected early enough, it may be possible to remove the cancerous growth by burning, freezing or cutting.
If prostate cancer is detected early enough, it may be possible to remove the cancerous growth by burning, freezing or cutting.
If prostate cancer is detected early enough, it may be possible to remove the cancerous growth by burning, freezing or cutting.

One of the most important factors affecting prostate cancer survival rates is the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. Those with early-stage, local tumors have a better prognosis than men with late-stage cancers that have spread to other parts of their bodies. Likewise, individuals with an "unstaged" form of prostate cancer — those that doctors can't easily categorize — are often expected to live longer than those with late-stage cases. Additionally, the patient's response to treatment and his overall health status influence his chances of survival.

Prostate cancer life expectancy depends on a number of factors.
Prostate cancer life expectancy depends on a number of factors.
Prostate cancer life expectancy depends on a number of factors.

As with many other types of cancer, the stage at which prostate cancer is diagnosed affects survival rates. Generally, the patients who are diagnosed in the earliest stages of prostate cancer have the best chances of surviving. Being diagnosed at a later stage doesn't necessarily mean a patient won't survive, however. Instead, it usually means his chances of surviving for an extended period may be diminished. Likewise, it may mean that treating the cancer will prove more difficult.

The stages of prostate cancer are determined by the spread of the cancer through the patient's body. In the earliest stages, the cancer is local and confined only to the prostate or nearby lymph nodes. These earliest stages usually have the best prognosis, as patients with localized cases of prostate cancer usually have a 100-percent five-year survival rate, which means 100 percent of these patients can expect to live for at least five years after diagnosis. Prostate cancer survival rates are much different in later stages in which the cancer has spread to body structures that are further away. In such cases, the five-year survival rate is about 33 percent, which means about 33 percent of men can expect to live for five years after diagnosis.

Interestingly, some cases of prostate cancer are difficult to stage. In such a case, the cancer is categorized as "unstaged" and is associated with its own prostate cancer survival rates. The five-year survival rate in such a case is usually a little over 79 percent.

Prostate cancer is typically treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Surgery is often used to remove a diseased prostate, while the other treatments are often aimed at destroying cancer in other parts of the body. While such treatments are often effective, prostate cancer survival rates typically depend on how well the patient responds to treatment, a factor that depends, in part, on the stage of cancer in question. Additionally, the patient's overall health status plays a role, as a patient who is healthy may respond well to treatment and have a better chance of recovering fully.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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    • If prostate cancer is detected early enough, it may be possible to remove the cancerous growth by burning, freezing or cutting.
      If prostate cancer is detected early enough, it may be possible to remove the cancerous growth by burning, freezing or cutting.
    • Prostate cancer life expectancy depends on a number of factors.
      Prostate cancer life expectancy depends on a number of factors.