Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff and is brought to you by our Sponsor.

When prostate cancer spreads to other parts of your body, doctors say it is "metastatic" or that it has "metastasized." Metastasis is the medical term for cancer that has spread beyond the place where it started. 

Most often, prostate cancer spreads to the bones. It's also common for it to spread to the liver or lungs. It's rarer for it to spread to other organs, such as the brain. 

It's still prostate cancer, even when it spreads. For example, metastatic prostate cancer in a bone in your hip is not bone cancer. It has the same prostate cancer cells the original tumor had, and your treatment options are the same as when cancer was only in your prostate gland.

Metastatic prostate cancer is an advanced form of cancer. Although it can't be cured, it can be treated and controlled.

Most men with advanced prostate cancer live a normal life for many years.

The goals of treatment are to:

  • Manage symptoms
  • Slow the rate your cancer grows
  • Shrink the tumor

Some cancers are called "locally advanced." That means the cancer has spread from the prostate to nearby tissue. This is not metastatic cancer, which is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Many locally advanced prostate cancers are curable.

How Prostate Cancer Spreads

Metastasis happens when cancer cells break away from the original tumor and move to a blood or lymph vessel. Once there, they circulate through the body. The cells stop in capillaries -- tiny blood vessels -- at some distant location.

The cells then break through the wall of the blood vessel and attach to whatever tissue they find. They multiply and grow new blood vessels to bring nutrients to the new tumor. Prostate cancer prefers to grow in specific areas, such as lymph nodes or in the ribs, pelvic bones, and spine.

Most cancer cells that break away form new tumors. Many others don't survive in the bloodstream. Some die at the site of the new tissue. Others may lie inactive for years or never become active.

Chances of Developing Metastatic Prostate Cancer

About 50% of men diagnosed with local prostate cancer will develop metastatic cancer during their lifetime. Finding cancer early and treating it can lower that rate.

A small percentage of men aren't diagnosed with prostate cancer until it has become metastatic. Doctors can tell it's metastatic cancer by taking a small sample of the tissue and studying the cells.