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Prostate cancer is one of the least deadly cancer diagnoses, particularly when compared with lung, breast, liver and colon cancers. Cancer of the prostate grows slowly in many cases and also spreads slowly. Men benefit from today's early detection methods and a very positive prognosis for most. So what are survival rates for prostate cancer, and what can you expect as your outlook?
For every nine men in the United States, one experiences a prostate cancer diagnosis in his lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. Still many others carry the disease but die of other causes before their own diagnosis. In reality, about 60 percent of men in the U.S. actually experience prostate cancer, most without ever knowing it.
In this way, prostate cancer is almost a part of male aging. It is the leading type of cancer affecting men, aside from skin cancer. The longer you live, the greater your odds of a diagnosis of your own. Almost 60 percent of all of these diagnoses affect men age 66 or older.
Despite the incredible odds of having the disease, your chances of dying from it are only one in 36. Most patients actually die of other conditions before the cancer spreads from their prostate to other parts of the body, if it ever spreads at all. Stroke, heart disease and other conditions usually claim lives first.
Because of the advanced-age diagnosis for most men with prostate cancer, the disease claims few lives compared to other cancers. Most men learning of their disease are over age 70. So to truly understand survival rates for prostate cancer, you must look at the diagnosis, stage and morbidity in younger men. This forms the relative survival rate for the disease.
Still, relative survival with prostate cancer provides optimism. The disease is almost always found early, when still localized. Only seven percent receive diagnosis beyond local or regional stages. The five year survival rate for men with local or regional prostate cancer is almost 100 percent.
The American Cancer Society explains that the SEER database tracks five year relative survival in patients with this cancer. This database does not track the disease progression as doctors typically provide cancer staging. Instead of the typical AJCC TNM method, prostate cancer stages under three categories.
These prostate cancer stages are:
A localized prostate cancer is one with no signs of spreading beyond the prostate. When compared to the AJCC method, this means a diagnosis of state I, II or III falls into the realm of localized cancer.
Regional prostate cancer is one spreading to nearby lymph nodes or structures outside of the prostate. You doctor possibly refers to your stage as III-B or IV-A at this point.
Distant prostate cancer has progressed into the lungs, bones, liver or other parts of the body. This stage is called IV-B by doctors. Only about seven percent of men with a prostate cancer diagnosis suffer distant prostate cancer.
Survival rates for prostate cancer drop dramatically in stage IV-B. Still, men in this stage live longer than many expect. One third survive for five years after finding their cancer.
Men in earlier stages of their disease, with local or regional prostate cancer, live for a very long time when compared with patients of other cancers.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology reports that among men with local or regional prostate cancer, survival rates include:
With a typical 10 to 15 year survival rate upon diagnosis for local or regional forms of the disease, men diagnosed in late years do not generally face death from their cancer. Instead, they continue living the natural course of their lives.
Technology and medicine advance on a constant basis. So the next 10 years will undoubtedly improve the lives of men with prostate cancer even more. Still, it is important to remember every man and each case of cancer is unique. This disease can still prove deadly. About 88 men die each day from prostate cancer in the U.S.
Remember that the earlier your prostate cancer is found and treated, the greater your odds for a lengthy, disease-free life. Some men with low risk tumors do not even need immediate treatment. They only need monitoring over time to watch the disease activity and possible progression.
All of this means that you face a great survival rates for prostate cancer. So undergo screening for the disease as recommended by your doctor and follow treatment or monitoring regimens. Even with prostate cancer, you can live a long, otherwise healthy life.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author. This content has not been paid for by any advertiser nor does WhipCancer.org recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. WhipCancer.org does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and information contained on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Please seek the advice of your physician or other professional healthcare provider with any questions you may have.