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(BPT) - “I’ve experienced a lot since I started riding this prostate cancer rollercoaster,” said Glenn D., a patient with advanced prostate cancer. “There were some tough days when I was so sick I thought I wouldn’t make it. And, by working with my doctor to develop an individualized regimen for me, there have been some great days where I actually felt like myself again.”
An estimated 161,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017.1 According to the American Cancer Society, behind lung cancer and colorectal cancer, prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in men in the U.S.1 Glenn is living with advanced prostate cancer, which differs from earlier stage prostate cancer in that it may have spread from the prostate or has not responded to treatment.2
Because prostate cancer can sometimes spread, or get worse, it is important to focus awareness on the potential for disease progression and how to plan for it.
About advanced prostate cancer
Testosterone, which is the primary male hormone, fuels the growth of prostate cancer cells.2 However, even when a patient is receiving treatment to help lower testosterone levels, prostate cancer can continue to progress in several ways: Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) occurs when the disease continues to progress despite low levels of testosterone.3 Metastatic prostate cancer occurs when the cancer has traveled to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lymph nodes, bladder and rectum.4 When the cancer spreads outside the prostate, and progresses despite treatment, it is called metastatic CRPC.5
Several studies have estimated that, within five years of diagnosis, 10-20 percent of men with prostate cancer will develop CRPC.6 This may seem overwhelming, but fortunately there are ways to educate yourself to be prepared for possible progression and help make well-informed treatment decisions with a physician.
How can a doctor diagnose advanced prostate cancer?
Unlike some other types of cancers or diseases, men living with advanced prostate cancer may not experience symptoms.2 High levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) may indicate cancer or other prostate health issues.2 Other symptoms of advanced prostate cancer may include bone pain or problems urinating.7 If appropriate, a doctor may recommend additional tests such as MRI, CT, PET or bone scans to confirm if the cancer has spread.4
An advanced prostate cancer diagnosis – next steps
Everyone’s experience with advanced prostate cancer is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all option, so it’s important that men discuss treatment and lifestyle priorities with their doctor who can help treat the cancer in a way that’s appropriate for him. Priorities can help the patient and his doctor have detailed conversations about what’s important to him in any future treatment.
For more information about prostate cancer progression, including a doctor discussion guide, please visit KnowYourProstatePlan.com.
Brought to you by Astellas Pharma Inc. and Pfizer Inc.
1 American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Prostate Cancer (01-05-2017). http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/detailedguide/prostate-cancer-key-statistics. Accessed 01-31-2017.
2 Urology Care Foundation. Advanced Prostate Cancer Patient Guide. www.urologyhealth.org/educational-materials. Accessed 02-16-2017.
3 Prostate Cancer Foundation. PSA Rising During Hormone Therapy. https://www.pcf.org/c/psa-rising-during-hormone-therapy/. Accessed 02-13-2017.
4 Cancer.Net. ASCO Answers Prostate Cancer. http://www.cancer.net/sites/cancer.net/files/asco_answers_guide_prostate.pdf. Accessed 02-17-2017.
5 Cancer.Net. Treatment of Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer. (09-08-2014). www.cancer.net/research-and-advocacy/asco-care-and-treatment-recommendations-patients/treatment-metastatic-castration-resistant-prostate-cancer. Accessed 02-16-2017.
6 Kirby M, Hirst C, Crawford ED. Characterising the castration-resistant prostate cancer population: a systematic review. Int J Clin Pract 2011;65(11):1180-1192.
7 American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer Overview. (02-09-2016). https://old.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003072-pdf.pdf. Accessed 02-03-2017.