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Prostate Cancer (cont.)

Prostate Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rate

The prognosis in prostate cancer depends on the stage of the cancer and the degree of differentiation.

  • Differentiation refers to how closely the cancer resembles normal tissue. This is assessed by calculating the Gleason score as mentioned earlier. The less differentiated the cancer, the poorer the prognosis.
  • The stage refers to the extent of the cancer -- whether it is localized or has spread beyond the prostate. The greater the degree of cancer spread, the poorer the outlook.

5-year survival rates are very good for men with prostate cancer.

  • According to the American Cancer Society, most men with these cancers survive at least 5 years.
  • Most prostate cancers are slow growing, as shown by the fact that a majority of men with prostate cancer survive at least 10 years.
  • Sometimes, however, prostate cancers grow and spread rapidly. Therefore, early diagnosis is essential for a cure.

If a man is elderly and has other medical conditions, watchful waiting may be the most prudent course.

  • Therapy may be more harmful than the cancer.
  • This is especially true if a man's life expectancy is less than 10 years.
  • Many times, elderly men with prostate cancer actually die of something else, such as heart disease, not the slow-growing prostate cancer.

A man and his family members should discuss this with his urologist.

Support Groups and Counseling

Living with cancer presents many new challenges for a man and for his family and friends.

  • A man will probably have many worries about how the cancer will affect him and his ability to live a normal life, that is, to care for his family and home, to hold his job, and to continue the friendships and activities he enjoys.
  • Many people feel anxious and depressed. Some people feel angry and resentful; others feel helpless and defeated.

For most people with cancer, talking about their feelings and concerns helps.

  • Friends and family members can be very supportive. They may be hesitant to offer support until they see how the man with cancer is coping. Don't wait for them to bring it up. If one wants to talk about their concerns, let them know.
  • Some people don't want to burden their loved ones or prefer talking about their concerns with a more neutral professional. A social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful if a man wants to discuss his feelings and concerns about having cancer. A urologist or oncologist should be able to recommend someone.
  • Many people with cancer are profoundly helped by talking to other people who have cancer. Sharing one's concerns with others who have been through the same thing can be remarkably reassuring. Support groups of people with cancer may be available through the medical center where one receives treatment. The American Cancer Society also has information about support groups all over the U.S.

Medically reviewed by Jay B. Zatzkin, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Medical Oncology

REFERENCE:

"Prostate cancer: Risk stratification and choice of initial treatment"
UptoDate.com

"Clinical presentation and diagnosis of prostate cancer"
UptoDate.com

"Screening for prostate cancer"
UptoDate.com


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/31/2015
Coauthor:

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