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Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic - What Happens

Prostate cancer is a common cancer affecting older men. About 16 out of 100 men in the United States will get prostate cancer, but only 3 will die because of it. That means about 97 out of 100 men will die of something other than prostate cancer.1

It usually is a very slow-growing cancer that takes years to grow large enough to cause any symptoms. In some men, it never does cause problems. Sometimes, though, it grows quickly and may cause complications or death.

When prostate cancer grows large enough, it begins to fill the prostate and often can be felt by your doctor during a digital rectal exam. As it continues to grow, it breaks through the outer rim of the prostate and into nearby tissues, such as the seminal vesicles. At this point, the disease is called locally advanced prostate cancer.

Locally advanced prostate cancer is usually not curable. But there are treatments that can help you live longer and feel better. Most men live up to 5 years after this diagnosis, but some men may live longer.2

After the cancer has broken through the prostate, it may move into nearby lymph nodes. From the lymph node system, the cancer can spread to other areas of the body. Most often, prostate cancer spreads to the bones. It also may spread to the lungs or other organs. When it has spread to the lymph nodes camera.gif, the disease is called metastatic prostate cancer.

Metastatic prostate cancer is not curable. But a number of treatments are available to help you live longer and make you feel better. Most men live 1 to 3 years after this diagnosis, but some men may live many years longer.2

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 30, 2014
    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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