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Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic - Topic Overview

This topic is about prostate cancer that has spread or come back after treatment. For information on prostate cancer that has not spread outside the prostate (localized prostate cancer), see the topic Prostate Cancer.

Prostate cancer is a group of cells that grows faster than normal in a man's prostate gland. It can spread into other areas and kill normal tissue.

The prostate gland camera.gif sits just below a man's bladder. It makes part of the fluid for semen. In young men, the prostate is about the size of a walnut. It usually grows larger as you grow older.

The cancer may be one of these types:

  • Locally advanced prostate cancer. This is cancer that has grown through the outer rim of the prostate and into nearby tissue.
  • Metastatic prostate cancer. This is cancer that has spread, or metastasized, to the lymph nodes camera.gif or other parts of the body.
  • Recurrent prostate cancer. This is cancer that has come back after it was treated. The cancer can come back in the prostate, near the prostate, or in another part of the body. If it comes back in another part of the body—often the bones—it is still called prostate cancer, because it started in the prostate.

Experts don't know what causes prostate cancer. But they believe that getting older and having a family history of prostate cancer raise your chance of getting it.

Sometimes there are no symptoms of either locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer.

When they do appear, symptoms of locally advanced prostate cancer include:

  • Waking up many times during the night to urinate.
  • Having trouble starting your urine stream, having a weaker-than-normal stream, or not being able to urinate at all.
  • Having pain or a burning feeling when you urinate.
  • Having blood in your urine.
  • Having a deep pain or stiffness in your lower back, upper thighs, or hips.

Symptoms of metastatic prostate cancer may include:

  • Bone pain.
  • Weight loss.
  • Swelling in your legs and feet.
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