Prostate Cancer: Survival Rates & Treatment Options

According to Cancer.Net, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer found in American men; it’s also the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the American male population. This year alone, we will see about 174,650 new cases of prostate cancer in the U.S. The disease’s average age of diagnosis is 66, with rare cases found in men below 40. Overall, about 60% of all prostate cancer cases are found in men 65 and older. There are several risk factorsthat contribute to your likelihood of developing the disease. To date, there are about 3 million prostate cancer survivors living in the U.S.

5-year survival rate tells you the percent of individuals who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with a given cancer. For all cancers, the stage at which the disease is caught will play a major role in one’s chances of survival. For men with local or regional prostate cancer–aka cancer that has not spread beyond the prostate (local) or nearby organs (regional)–the survival rate is almost 100%. If a man is diagnosed after his prostate cancer has metastasized–or spread to his other body parts–his 5-year survival rate takes a drastic drop down to 30%. The prostate cancer death rate has decreased by over 50% between 1993 and 2016; while this is encouraging, we still have a long way to go in fighting this deadly disease.

Memorial Sloan Kettering lists various treatment options for those diagnosed with prostate cancer that vary based on the nature of their disease:

  • Men with slow-growing, non-aggressive prostate cancer can engage in active surveillance, a technique in which doctors regularly monitor the tumor in question
  • Men with aggressive cancers typically undergo combined, individualized treatments that involve a mixture of hormone, radiation, and brachytherapy
  • Men with small, localized tumors often undergo focal therapy, which involves the use of noninvasive techniques to locally destroy only the part of the prostate where the cancer was found
  • Some men are advised to undergo various radiation therapies, such as: seed implants, stereotactic hypofractionated radiation therapy, and intensity-modulated radiation therapy
  • Men whose cancers have metastasized are advised to undergo a form of systemic therapies, which include: chemotherapy, bone-targeted therapy, hormonal therapy, clinical trials, et cetera
  • Men whose PSA levels continue to rise even after receiving a radical prostatectomy generally undergo external-beam radiation therapy that’s sometimes accompanied by hormone therapy

One problem with many of these treatments is that they often come with a host of undesirable side effects. But the good news is that certain forms of exercise can help alleviate many of these negative treatment byproducts.