Prostate cancer can spread throughout the body through different means, but it tends to spread to bones rather than to other organs. Metastases means cancer spread, and with prostate cancer these can occur when the tumour is small. To determine whether the cancer has become an advanced metastatic cancer, a bone scan is used. If it is found that the cancer has spread to the bone then the disease will be treated as an advanced metastatic disease, even if the tumour in the prostate itself is relatively small.
There are two different stages of prostate cancer spread (or metastases), denoted by:
M0 – The cancer has not yet spread outside the pelvic area
M1 – The cancer has spread outside the pelvic area
In the case of an advanced metastatic prostate cancer, the M1 label is used.
In this scenario, it is considered unlikely that the cancer will be able to be cured. Once the cancer has spread to the bone, treatment for advanced metastatic cancer centres on slowing the cancers growth and reducing symptoms rather than a cure. Treatment also aims at prolonging life, and increasing its quality.
Possible treatments for advanced metastatic prostate cancer are that can slow the tumours growth are:
All prostate cancer treatments have associated side effects, so no one will force a patient into taking a particular therapy. The best course of action will be advised by the doctor, but ultimately the decision to have or not to have treatment is the patients.
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