Cancer that spreads from where it started to a distant part of the body is called metastatic cancer. For many types of cancer, it is also called stage IV (4) cancer. Metastatic prostate cancer is a serious and often life-threatening condition that arises when cancer cells from the prostate gland spread to other parts of the body. At Kansas City Urology and Oncology, we treat more cases of prostate cancer than anyone in the area. To understand the implications of metastatic prostate cancer, it’s essential to delve into the basics of prostate cancer, its prevalence, risk factors, and treatment options.
Prostate Cancer Statistics
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men globally. According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among men, following skin cancer. The statistics are alarming, with an estimated 1 in 8 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. However, the good news is that the majority of prostate cancers are detected at an early stage, making successful treatment more likely. Though roughly 13% of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, only 2-3% will die from it.
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Various factors contribute to the risk of developing prostate cancer:
Age – Age is a significant factor, with the risk increasing significantly after age 50.
Genetics – Family history and genetics also play a role, as men with close relatives who have had prostate cancer are at a higher risk.
Race – Race is a factor, with African American men having a higher incidence of prostate cancer and a more aggressive form of the disease.
Lifestyle – Lifestyle factors such as diet, obesity, and lack of physical activity have also been associated with an increased risk.
If you fall into one of these categories, it is even more important for you to schedule regular examinations to ensure you catch the cancer in its earliest stage.
How Often Should You Get a PSA Test?
At KCUC, we recommend regular prostate cancer screening in men starting at age 40-55, depending on personal risk factors, and continuing every 1-2 years until at least age 70-75 depending on individual overall health and life expectancy. African American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer should start screening at age 40. Prostate cancer screening should consist of a PSA blood test and a prostate exam.
Understanding Metastatic Prostate Cancer
Metastatic prostate cancer occurs when cancer cells from the prostate gland travel to other parts of the body, such as the bones, lymph nodes, or other organs. The process of metastasis is complex and involves cancer cells breaking away from the original tumor, entering the bloodstream or lymphatic system, and establishing new tumors in distant locations.
The symptoms of metastatic prostate cancer can vary depending on the organs or bones affected. Common signs may include bone pain, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, and urinary or bowel problems. Detecting metastatic prostate cancer at an advanced stage poses significant challenges and often requires more aggressive treatments.
Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer
The treatment approach for prostate cancer depends on the stage of the disease, the aggressiveness of the cancer cells, and the overall health of the patient. In the early stages, when the cancer is localized to the prostate, treatment options may include surgery, radiation therapy, or active surveillance. For advanced stages, including metastatic prostate cancer, treatment becomes more complex. Hormone therapy is a common approach to slow down the growth of prostate cancer cells by reducing the levels of male hormones, such as testosterone, that fuel their growth. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are also used to target and destroy cancer cells throughout the body.
The Importance of PSA Testing
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by both cancerous and non-cancerous cells in the prostate gland. A PSA test is a simple blood test. Elevated PSA levels may indicate the presence of prostate cancer. Regular PSA testing is a crucial tool in the early detection of prostate cancer, allowing for prompt intervention before the cancer has a chance to metastasize. Encouraging men, especially those at higher risk due to age, family history, or other factors, to undergo regular PSA testing is essential for the early detection of prostate cancer. Catching the disease early increases the likelihood of successful treatment and reduces the risk of metastasis.
Early Detection Saves Lives
Metastatic prostate cancer is a formidable adversary, but understanding its roots, risk factors, and available treatments is key to combating it effectively. Regular health check-ups, including PSA testing, can significantly contribute to the early detection of prostate cancer and prevent its progression to a metastatic stage. By staying informed and proactive about their health, men can take crucial steps in the fight against prostate cancer and improve their chances of a positive outcome.
Get a Prostate Cancer Second Opinion at KCUC
We encourage men diagnosed with prostate cancer to come to KCUC. We treat more prostate cancer in the KC area than anyone else. If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, pursuing a second opinion can validate your current diagnosis. Most physicians recommend a second opinion. See us for a second opinion on your prostate cancer diagnosis and explore your prostate cancer treatment options.
MRI Ultrasound Fusion Biopsy for Accurate Diagnoses
The first step in determining prostate cancer is an accurate diagnosis. At KCUC, our radiologists use a state-of-the-art MRI exam called an MRI Ultrasound Fusion Biopsy. MRI images are sent to a device that fuses those images with ultrasound images to create a detailed 3-D image of the prostate that makes it easier to see abnormal areas of tissue inside. Doctors use this image to guide them when taking a biopsy (sample of the tissue) in the area in question. This greatly enhances the accuracy of the procedure.
Proton Therapy for Metastatic Prostate Cancer
Our Kansas City Proton Institute (KCPI) is now open. KCPI is the only office-based proton therapy facility in the central United States. Having an office-based proton therapy center will make cutting-edge cancer care more accessible and convenient for thousands of cancer patients in both Kansas and Missouri. However, the biggest advantage for our patients is that the cost of office-based proton therapy is less expensive than receiving proton therapy in a hospital setting. We are proud to be able to bring this state-of-the-art technology to the community in a much more cost-effective manner.