What is Metastatic Prostate Cancer?
Sometimes cancer cells will escape the prostate and grow quickly, spreading to nearby tissue, or “metastasizing”. Nearby lymph nodes are often the first destination for a spreading cancer. If prostate cancer has spread to your lymph nodes when it is diagnosed, it means that there is higher chance that it has spread to other areas of the body as well.
If and when prostate cancer cells gain access to the bloodstream, they can be deposited in various sites throughout the body, most commonly in bones, and more rarely to other organs such as the liver, lung, or brain. Bone metastases are seen in 85% to 90% of metastatic cases.
No matter where a cancer turns up in the body, it is always identified by the tissue type in which it started. Prostate cancer can metastasize to other organs, but it is always prostate cancer, because it consists of mutated prostate cells.
Men diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer (that is, their disease has already spread beyond the prostate by the time of diagnosis), will often not undergo local treatments of the primary prostate tumor, such as surgery or radiation. Instead, their therapeutic journey might start with hormone therapy, and from there follow a similar path as men who were diagnosed at an earlier stage and had subsequent disease progression.
Want more information about a prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options? Download or order a print copy of the Prostate Cancer Patient Guide.