What is Prostate Cancer Metastasis and How It’s Detected?
Understanding the language or stages of cancer is vital in fighting against the disease. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in India and according to WHO, everyday 1300 people or roughly 5 lakhs people annually succumb to this dreaded disease. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancers in men and can become deadly when progressed to metastasis.
What is Prostate Cancer Metastasis?
Prostate cancer develops in the prostate, a small gland that makes seminal fluid. Metastasis is the deadly form or say advanced form of prostate cancer. When your doctor tells you that your prostate cancer has ‘metastasized’, then it means that it has spread to other parts of the body.
Mostly prostate cancer has a tendency to spread to the bones and the lymph nodes but it might spread to liver and lungs as well. Rarely, it spread to the eyes, breasts, kidneys and brain.
There is no cure for the prostate metastasis but people have managed it by following appropriate treatment and lived for years.
How Prostate Cancer Spreads
Cancerous cells often split away from the original tumor and go to the blood or lymph vessel. Once they enter into the blood vessel, they move through the body and stops at tiny blood vessels known as capillaries. These cells then disrupt the blood vessel wall and attach to whatever tissue they find in their way, hence multiplying and growing new blood vessels to form new tumors.
Risk factors for Prostate Cancer Metastasis
- Nearly 50 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will progress to the advanced or metastasis stage during their lifetime.
- Older men are likely to get prostate cancer metastasis
- There has been high increase in men aged 55-69 who could have benefit from screening early treatment
- African American men have higher chances as compared to Asian.
- Family history
How Can We Know We Have Advance Prostate Cancer?
There are certain indications for instance; newly aroused lower back pain or elevated liver pain might raise suspicion levels of your doctor. Blood tests that shows high PSA (prostate specific antigen, a protein made by prostate gland) levels despite the treatment indicates of possible metastasis.
How Is Prostate Cancer Metastasis Detected?
When you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, your doctor may order following tests to detect the advancement of prostate cancer or metastasis.
- PSA Blood test to check PSA levels. It may or may not be a sign of cancer, but after surgery of prostate, the presence of PSA is a major concern.
- Bone Scan to scan the complete skeleton. If metastasis is detected, some hot spots would be there on the scan. It could be false positive so it needs to be thoroughly understood.
- CT Scan to find metastasis in the abdomen and the pelvis. Usually, metastasis in the liver, bones of abdomen and pelvis intestines can be found.
- MRI to look for cancer in the close vicinity of prostate.
- PET Scan is often combined with CT scan. In this imaging test, the patient is given a shot of radioactive sugar. Cancer cells which are actively growing take up this sugar and gets highlighted.
- Enhanced MRI is an advance technique to detect metastases in the lymph nodes. An injection of tiny magnetic particles is given a day before scan.
Prostate cancer prevalence in India
India has always recorded low cancer rates as against the developed world but this trend is changing.
- The numbers are really alarming. After lung and mouth cancers, prostate cancer is the third leading cancer in men in India, accounting for 7 percent of all cancers.
- Since 1990s, cases of prostate cancer have increased by over 220% and according to India’s National Cancer Registry Programme it is expected to grow rapidly by the year 2020.
Prostate cancer patients need to get checked the risks by setting a schedule with their doctor. Being active in this situation can greatly reduce the risk of developing metastasis prostate cancer.