What Is Advanced Prostate Cancer and How Does It Progress?

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Topics include: Treatment

What is advanced prostate cancer? Prostate cancer experts Drs. Jeri Kim and Sumit K. Subudhi, from MD Anderson Cancer Center, explain what it means to have advanced disease and how—and where in the body--the disease typically progresses. 

Sponsored by the Patient Empowerment Network through an educational grant from Sanofi and an independent educational grant from Astellas and Medivation, Inc. Produced in association with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Jeff Folloder:

There’s prostate cancer, and there’s advanced prostate cancer.  Dr. Kim, what’s the difference? What is advanced prostate cancer?

Dr. Jeri Kim:        

Well, prostate cancer is advanced when it has spread outside of the prostate gland.  It can spread to the adjacent tissue.  It can go to the bone and lymph nodes and rarely, other organs, including lungs and liver. 

Jeff Folloder:     

Doctor, let’s talk a little bit about that progression, going from simple prostate cancer to advanced prostate cancer.  How does the progression happen?

Dr. Sumit Subudhi:           

So it can happen either just from direct contact, for example, next to the prostate cancer is a bladder, or the seminal vesicles.  So the prostate cancer can directly just go there.  Or it can go through your lymphatic system, which—and that’s how prostate cancer can get to the lymph nodes.  And for those of you who don’t know what lymph nodes are, if many of you have kids or have dealt with kids, when they have a sore throat, you always feel for their throat right here.

That’s because that’s where the immune system fights the infections.  And when you see swelling there, that’s what we’re looking for.  These lymph nodes are all over our body, so many of you who are the caregivers are women.  When you go for your breast exams, where do the doctors do the breast exam also? Underneath your armpits, because there [are] lymph nodes there as well.  So for prostate cancer, there [are] local lymph nodes.  That’s where it’s [the] most common site of metastases or when it leaves the prostate.  But you should know that it can go to any of the lymph nodes in your body.

But it usually starts from the bottom and goes up.  But there’s another way of spreading.  It also can spread through your blood as well.  So there [are] three major ways that prostate cancer seems to spread.  One is directly, second is through your lymphatic system, and third is through your blood.

Jeff Folloder:     

Is there any part of the body that is immune from this spread?

Dr. Sumit Subudhi:           

So I think Jeri said it best, that the most common places that it spreads to are direct, which is the bladder or seminal vesicles.  Second is lymph nodes, and third is the bone.  In rare cases, it can go to the lung, liver, adrenal glands, spleen, brain—very rare, but it can happen.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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Page last updated on August 17, 2015