Stage 4 is the most advanced and severe form of prostate cancer. Once prostate cancer spreads outside of the prostate, it is considered to have to reached this stage. While some cancers go undetected until this stage, most cases are discovered earlier because of the warning signs.
Most people are already undergoing treatment when they reach this stage, making it even harder to find the right solution. Stage 4 prostate cancer survival rates are very low, but treatments at least extend a patient’s life and control their symptoms.
Signs your cancer has reached this advanced stage include:
Just as is the case with all cancers, prostate cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. With prostate cancer, these cells are created and grow in the prostate, a small, walnut-sized gland that exists only in men. It is located just under the bladder and in front of the rectum in the lower pelvic region of the body. Just as is the case with other others, prostate cancer is classified into stages 1 through 4 as it grows and develops. Obviously, a cancer that is discovered in the early stages is at a far greater stage of being effectively treated than one at stage 4. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, cancers are not always discovered at their earliest stages, which can make them more difficult to treat. The causes of prostate cancer include a lifestyle that incorporates lots of red meats and other fatty foods, obesity, and other factors.
Since the tumors in stage 4 prostate cancer have spread to the lymph nodes and other organs, surgery is no longer an option for removing all the tissue. Radiation is primarily used, but it’s rarely enough to save the patient’s life and is usually considered palliative care to reduce pain instead.
Most medications are prescribed to prevent nausea, pain, and other symptoms that come with organ damage. People with stage 4 prostate cancer have a less than 10% chance of five year survival, so a diagnosis warrants a serious conversation about hospice care and end-of-life arrangements.
The exact causes of prostate cancer are not known; however, it is known to have contributing factors such as those listed above which can help when it comes to prevention. In the case of Stage 4 Prostate Cancer, in particular, the best way to prevent the problem is to monitor your body and know what signs are telling you. For example, one common complaint that drives many prostate cancer patients to their doctor is trouble urinating or pain while urinating. At this stage, prostate cancer is usually contained only in the prostate, which makes it easier to treat with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. If symptoms are ignored or these treatment options are not effective, it is possible that stage 4 prostate cancer can be reached. In these cases, it can be much more difficult to treat, but not always impossible. Besides not ignoring pain or difficulty urinating, it is always a good idea to have a doctor examine a man’s prostate during a regular health examination.