What Is Stage 4 Prostate Cancer?
The fourth stage of prostate cancer defines a tumor that has progressed to other regions of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones, or bladder. The 5-year survival rate for these tumors is 29 percent.
Keep in mind that each case is unique, and figures like these are merely suggestions. As advances in prostate cancer treatment become more common, your odds of surviving this disease improve.
In general, prostate cancer has a very good survival rate – one of the greatest of any cancer type. Because prostate cancer is frequently a slow-moving disease, the majority of men diagnosed with it will die from an unrelated reason.
Stage 4 prostate cancer means the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. It is further divided into two substages:
- Prostate Cancer Stage 4A
Stage 4A: The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes but may or may not have spread to nearby tissues.
- Prostate Cancer Stage 4B
Stage 4B: The cancer has spread to another area of the body, such as the bones or distant lymph nodes.
What Are the Physical Symptoms of Stage 4 Prostate Cancer?
Signs and symptoms of stage 4 prostate cancer may include:
- Painful urination
- Decreased force in the stream of urine
- Blood in the semen
- Bone pain
- Swelling in the legs
What Is the Survival Rate of Stage 4 Prostate Cancer?
Doctors use the term stage to characterize the characteristics of the original tumor itself, such as its size and how far prostate cancer has spread when it is discovered, as they do with all malignancies.
Staging systems are difficult to understand. Most malignancies, including prostate cancer, are staged using three different elements of tumor growth and dissemination. The TNM system stands for tumor, nodes, and metastasis:
- T, for tumor (which means a swelling, a growth or mass, and describes the cancer as found in its place of origin) describes the size of the main area of prostate cancer.
- N, for nodes, describes whether prostate cancer has spread to any lymph nodes, and how many and in what locations.
- M, for metastasis, means distant spread of prostate cancer, for example, to the bones or liver.
The TNM approach allows each man’s prostate cancer to be characterized in depth and compared to the prostate cancers of other men. Doctors utilize this information to conduct research and make treatment decisions.
However, in terms of prostate cancer survival statistics, the staging method is straightforward. As previously stated, males with prostate cancer can be split into two groups in terms of survival rates:
- Men with prostate cancer that is localized to the prostate or just nearby.
- Prostate cancer has a high long-term survival percentage in these men. Almost all men will live for more than five years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, and many will live for much longer.
- Men whose prostate cancer has spread to distant areas, like their bones.
- These individuals may require more aggressive prostate cancer treatment. Only roughly one-third of these men will live for more than five years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
What Is the Life Expectancy for Stage 4 Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer life expectancy is determined using five-year survival rates. This is the percentage of people who may still be alive five years after being diagnosed.
The five-year survival rate for men with localized prostate cancer, where there is no evidence of cancer spreading outside the prostate, and regional prostate cancer, when cancer has migrated outside the prostate to adjacent structures or lymph nodes exclusively, is approximately 100 percent.
When prostate cancer reaches stage 4 and has spread (metastasized) to other organs such as the lungs, liver, or bones, the five-year survival rate falls below 30%. At stage 4, prostate cancer is unlikely to be cured, although with effective therapy, many people can live for several years. The patient’s life expectancy is determined by the precise characteristics of his cancer.
However, thanks to routine screening procedures, prostate cancer is often discovered early, before it has spread to other organs, and it is usually not fatal. When diagnosed early, there are several treatment options available, as well as a good likelihood of a cure.
Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Prognosis
Doctors need to know how far the cancer has advanced, or its stage, in order to choose the best treatment. A pathologist, a specialist who specializes in studying cells obtained from a prostate biopsy, will provide two starting points: the cancer’s grade and Gleason score.
- Cancer grade: When the pathologist looks at prostate cancer cells, the most common type of cells will get a grade of 3 to 5. The area of cancer cells in the prostate will also be graded. The higher the grade, the more abnormal the cells.
- Gleason score: The two grades will be added together to get a Gleason score. This score tells doctors how likely the cancer is to grow and spread.
After a biopsy reveals prostate cancer, the patient may be subjected to additional testing to determine whether the disease has spread to other regions of the body via the blood or lymph nodes. These are typically imaging examinations, such as a bone scan, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, or computed tomography (CT) scan.
Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials
Clinical trials provide cancer patients with life-extending and curative new medicines. Clinical drug trials are critical in getting new medicines to patients who need them the most, as well as securing data so that regulatory clearances may be secured, and new drugs can enter broad clinical practice. Patients who take part in clinical trials benefit both treatment science and their fellow patients.
There are currently 100 Phase III drug trials and more than 500 Phase I/II trials related to prostate cancer treatment in progress in the United States alone. Those that are approved will join the 12 new drugs that have been approved for men with advanced/metastatic disease since 2010 and further improve outcomes for patients:
Using our AI-powered approach, Massive Bio leads patients through the most extensive clinical trial matching process available.
We can assist you if you have been diagnosed with any of the following prostate cancer subtypes:
- Transitional Cell Carcinoma
- Small Cell Carcinoma
If you do not know which type of prostate cancer you have, that is okay. Additional testing can help you determine your exact diagnosis.