Can prostate cancer be cured? While the prognosis of individuals newly diagnosed with prostate cancer varies according to many factors, including the stage of the cancer, age and overall health, the short answer is yes, it can. Cure rates are extremely high for this form of cancer. Here, we’ll go beyond that short answer, delving into the general details on prostate cancer stages, odds and options.
Local And Regional Stage Prostate Cancers
Local-stage cancers are stage I and stage II tumors that are confined to the prostate gland. When prostate cancer is diagnosed in this earliest of stages, the 5-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.
Regional prostate cancers are stage III and IV tumors that have spread from the prostate gland to adjacent tissues. The 5-year survival rate for regional stage prostate cancer patients is nearly 100 percent.
Treatment options commonly used to cure local and regional-stage prostate cancers include radical prostatectomy, which is surgical removal of the prostate gland, radiation therapy, and a combination of radiation therapy and hormone therapy.
For patients treated with radiation therapy, which some studies show can lead to fewer side-effects than surgery, odds of a permanent cure, without any cancer recurrence, can be increased by newer treatment methods that limit radiation exposure in adjacent tissues, such as intensity modulated radiation therapy with rectal balloons, for instance.
Distant Stage Prostate Cancers
These are stage IV prostate cancers that have spread to distant areas, such as bones, other organs and/or distant lymph nodes. The 5-year survival rate in these cases is about 28 percent.
Treatment options may include surgery, radiation, hormone therapy and chemotherapy. Currently, most distant-stage cancers cannot be cured, but treatment can aid in controlling them. However, the results of recent research may soon lead to better odds. In a small pilot study, combined treatments eliminated all detectable disease in patients who had previously been considered incurable.
Overall, men diagnosed with prostate cancer of any stage have a 5-year survival rate of nearly 100 percent, a 10-year survival rate of 98 percent, and a 15-year survival rate of 95 percent. While it is important to remember that these rates cannot predict what will happen to any single individual prostate cancer patient, they do indicate that the odds are in their favor in terms of a positive answer to the question most ask — can prostate cancer be cured?
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