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What Is the Survival Rate for Prostate Cancer?

Ask a Doctor

How long can a person live with prostate cancer? What’s the survival rate for this cancer?

Doctor’s Response

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.

For more information, read our full medical article on prostate cancer.

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


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