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The Risks and Signs of Late-Stage Prostate Cancer

September 08, 2022 | By: Michael Dusing, M.D.

The risk of being diagnosed with advanced-stage prostate cancer is less than one in 10. Yet that’s no reason to doubt the realities of such a prognosis.

Just 7% of men have advanced-stage prostate cancer at the time of diagnosis. For these men, this highly treatable disease becomes a far more serious issue. 

Once the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, only about 30% of men survive for more than five years. That compares with a near-100% survival rate when the cancer is detected early. And almost all cases of prostate cancer are detected early (92%), thanks to preventive screening. 

But unfortunately, some men are at a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer, even if they start getting screenings at the recommended age of 50.

This is What Late-Stage Prostate Cancer Means

The prostate is a small gland located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the gland begin to divide uncontrollably, forming an invasive tumor. 

Typically, prostate cancer is slow-growing. But among some men, the cancer cells are more aggressive and likely to spread to other areas of the body – often the lymph nodes, bones, and liver. This is late-stage cancer. 

Who Is at Greater Risk of Late-Stage Prostate Cancer?

The average age of men diagnosed with prostate cancer is 66. However, certain factors can cause younger men to be more vulnerable to the disease. Among the leading factors:

  • Race – Black men are 50% more likely to develop prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from the disease, research shows. Some evidence suggests this may be due to inherited biological factors. Men in this group should discuss the need for screenings with their physicians at age 45.
  • Family history – Men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) with prostate cancer are at more than twice the risk of developing the disease. These men should discuss screenings with their physicians at the age of 45. However, if more than one first-degree relative has been diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age, they should seek screening information at 40.
  • Genetics – Inherited gene mutations, including those linked to breast and ovarian cancers, could heighten the chances of prostate cancer. Lynch syndrome, a condition caused by inherited genes, also increases the risks of developing the disease. The Urology Group provides genetic testing.

Look for These Symptoms

The most common symptoms of prostate cancer include frequent urination (especially at night), difficulty starting and stopping, a weak flow, and blood in the urine. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, discuss them with a doctor, soon. A few quick tests, including a blood test, can detect the presence of cancer.

If detected at early, prostate cancer can be treated with robotic prostate removal and/or radiation therapies, including CyberKnife. Treatments for late-stage cancer include these procedures plus hormone therapy, immunotherapy to fight cancer cells, and chemotherapy.

The Urology Group’s Advanced Prostate Cancer Clinic provides these treatments and clinical trials, as well as education and support for patients and their families. 

Other Helpful Prostate Cancer Resources 

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a reminder to schedule your annual prostate screening. Along with The Urology Group, there are a number of resources and organizations to help educate patients and families about the disease, including: 

Late-stage prostate cancer may be rare, but it’s not impossible. It is possible, however, to beat the odds if you are at higher risk. You can request an appointment online here if you have questions or concerns about your risks.

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