What if Prostate Cancer Returns?


Recurrence of prostate cancer

Although prostate cancer is a highly treatable type of cancer, many patients are concerned deeply about its recurrence. A recurrence of prostate cancer signifies that the cancer has returned, either in the same place where it originally developed or elsewhere in the body.

But why does the cancer return? We will look at the possible reasons for prostate cancer's recurrence, the factors that determine the recurrence, and the type of treatments that can help battle the recurrence.


How Common Is the Recurrence of Prostate Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, 98% of men with low-to intermediate-grade prostate cancer can expect to live at least five years after their initial diagnosis. Greater than 90% of the time, prostate cancer is detected when it has spread beyond the prostate, only to a small degree (regional spread) or is restricted to the prostate gland. Of the 10% of men whose cancer has spread to different parts of the body at the time of diagnosis, statistics show that only 30% are expected to live up to five years.


How Is a Recurrence Detected?

After obtaining prostate cancer treatment, one will have to visit the doctor for frequent medical check-ups, usually after every few months. At every appointment, the doctor will administer a blood test to measure the PSA levels. The PSA test will assist the doctor in determining the recurrence of prostate cancer. If any new symptoms are experienced, one must immediately report these to the doctor, as these may expedite other testing methods.

If the PSA test results suggest cancer’s recurrence, X-rays or other imaging tests may be done, depending on your situation and symptoms. The doctor may utilize e a radioactive tracer along with a PET scan to assist in identifying and locating any recurrent cancer, in order to pursue a biopsy or treatment path.


What Factors Determine the Likelihood of Recurrence?

Several factors determine the likelihood of the recurrence of prostate cancer:

The involvement of lymph nodes

Men who have cancer cells in the lymph nodes of their pelvic region may be more likely to have a recurrence.

Size of the tumor

In general, the bigger the tumor size, the greater the chances of recurrence.

The Gleason score

A pathologist looks at how the cancer cells are arranged in the prostate and assigns a score on a scale of 3 to 5 from 2 different locations. Cancer cells that look similar to healthy cells receive a low score. The higher the score, the greater the chances of recurrence.

The cancer stage

The cancer stage is one of the most important factors for predicting the outlook of cancer. If the cancer is diagnosed or treated at a later stage, there are greater chances of recurrence.


Follow-Up Treatments Recommended after Recurrence

If the doctor detects a recurrence of prostate cancer, the follow-up treatment will depend upon the primary treatment, the extent of the cancer, the site of recurrence, patient age, other illnesses, and additional aspects of medical condition.

One possible treatment for recurrence is hormone therapy. Researchers are constantly working on new drugs to prevent the growth of prostate cancer and block the effects of male hormones. Radiation therapy, extreme cold, ultrasound, electric current, or medications can be administered to alleviate pain symptoms in the bones caused by prostate cancer. Chemotherapy might also be an option after recurrence. The doctor might recommend a vaccine that can boost the body's immune system against prostate cancer cells.


Final Words

Many men find it difficult to deal with, if there is a recurrence of prostate cancer. All the initial emotions can resurface and may even be stronger the second time around. Some men also express anger when they discover the recurrence. It is normal to experience these emotions and want to explore an explanation, but this remains a faultless disease.

Disclaimer: Please note: this blog post is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to replace the guidance of your personal physician. Please consult a medical professional if you have any concerns after reading this or other blog posts on this website.