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Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic - Topic Overview

Your doctor will do a digital rectal exam, in which he or she puts a gloved, lubricated finger in your rectum to feel your prostate. You may also have a blood test called a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. These tests will help find out if you have prostate cancer or if your prostate cancer has come back.

Your doctor also may do a biopsy. In this test, your doctor takes samples of tissue from your prostate gland or from the area where the cancer may have spread and sends the samples to a lab for testing. A biopsy is the only way to know for sure that you have prostate cancer.

If you have had prostate cancer before, your doctor may also order a bone scan, CT scan, or MRI to see if it has come back or spread.

Learning that you have cancer that has spread or come back can be very hard. Some people find that it helps to talk about their feelings with their family and friends. You may also want to talk with your doctor or with other people who have had this kind of cancer. Your local American Cancer Society chapter can help you find a support group.

Your treatment choices depend on your overall health, how fast the cancer is growing, and how far it has spread.

Locally advanced prostate cancer may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or a combination of these.

Treatment of metastatic cancer focuses on slowing the spread of the cancer and relieving symptoms, such as bone pain. It also can help you feel better and live longer. Treatment may include hormone therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy.

In some cases, men may be able to wait before starting treatment (active surveillance). But older men with other serious health problems may decide not to have treatment except for what is needed to treat any symptoms (watchful waiting).

Learning about prostate cancer:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

Living with prostate cancer:

End-of-life issues:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 22, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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