Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

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Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

Prostate cancer survival rates indicate the chance that a cancer patient has to survive the disease for a certain period of time. The rates are in no way a definitive indicator of what will happen to a patient; they can at best predict a patient’s chance of what may happen to him, if a type of treatment plan is chosen, based on what has happened to other patients in similar circumstances. They serve as a guide for a patient and his family to know what to expect if they choose a certain type of treatment or if they should consider one instead of just opting for pain relievers and sedation.

Prostate cancer generally affects men over the age of 50. Many men are affected by an overgrowth of prostate tissue as they age. Many times this overgrown tissue is benign, but sometimes the overgrowth is characterized by abnormal cancer cells that lead to prostate cancer. The disease can be present for years without the patient being aware of it. The most common symptoms it can cause when it starts to make its presence known are pain and difficulty urinating and erectile dysfunction.

The overall survival rates of prostate cancer are very high compared to most cancers. Currently in the United States only 3% of patients succumb to the disease. The overall 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer in the US is 100%, the 10-year survival rate is 92% and the 15-year survival rate is 70%. The high survival rates for prostate cancer are primarily because nearly 91% of cases in the United States are discovered while the cancer is still localized and contained within the prostate or in nearby areas.

Prognosis and treatment is based on a grading system, generally the Gleason system which assigns grades from 1-10 based on how many cells in the cancerous tissue resemble normal prostate tissue. A score of 2-4 is considered low grade, 5-7 intermediate grade and 8-10 high grade. The higher the grade, the faster the cancer spreads.

Prostate cancer survival rates are among the lowest for men whose cancer has breached the prostatic capsule. On average, 46% of patients with metastatic prostate disease die within 22 months of diagnosis and barely 32% will reach the 5-year survival mark.

In general, prostate cancer is a very slow growing cancer with a higher incidence in the developed countries. It is believed that this may be because most men in the developing world succumb to other diseases long before prostate cancer has a chance to grow to the extent where it will cause mortality.

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