What Is My Advanced Prostate Cancer Life Expectancy?

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Questions regarding advanced prostate cancer life expectancy are common after a man receives a diagnosis. The questions are not always so easy to answer.

In 2013, more than 235,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and nearly 30,000 will die from the disease according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Overall, survival from prostate cancer is good.

According to the ACS, the 5-,10-, and 15-year relative survival rates are excellent at nearly 100%, 98%, and 93% respectively.

The results vary rather dramatically, however, by stage. For the local (meaning the cancer has not spread outside the prostate) and regional stages (spread to nearby areas like the bladder and close lymph nodes) the 5-year survival is nearly 100%. However, cancers that have spread to distant parts of the body such as lymph nodes, bones, or other organs the 5-year survival is only 28%.

Advanced prostate cancer life expectancy—specific factors

Many different factors affect advanced prostate cancer life expectancy. One issue it is important for you to understand is that there are several types of advanced prostate cancer:

  1. Locally advanced prostate cancer. In this type of prostate cancer, the cancer has grown through the prostate and may extend to the seminal vesicles or bladder.
  2. Elevated PSA following prostate cancer treatment. These patients have elevated or a rising PSA level following treatment, but do not show evidence of spread or worsening disease in other areas of the body.
  3. Hormone sensitive metastatic cancer. This form of advanced prostate cancer commonly is spread to the bone, lymph nodes, or other organs in the body.
  4. Castration-resistant prostate cancer. In this cancer, growth continues despite suppressing testosterone and other hormones fueling the growth of prostate cancer.

Certain clinical factors may help determine your advanced prostate cancer life expectancy. These include things like tumor stage, Gleason score, PSA level, and prior response to treatment. Additionally, a number of patient specific factors such as age, other medical problems, and current functional status all play into your advanced prostate cancer life expectancy.

Advanced prostate cancer life expectancy—treatment options

While androgen deprivation therapy is the initial treatment for most men with advanced prostate cancer, nearly all patients eventually develop worsening symptoms evidenced by one of the following:

  • Rising PSA
  • Spread to a new, distant site
  • Worsening disease in an area already affected by the cancer

While the best treatment for you at this point may not be an exact science, a number of options exist. One option that you can discuss with your doctor is Provenge. This treatment is a novel immunotherapy tailored to your specific cancer. Basically, some of your body’s immune cells are removed from your blood stream (sort of like donating blood) and specially treated to develop your personalized Provenge infusion. When given back to you as an infusion, these cells find and attack the advanced prostate cancer cells in your body. With this treatment, PSA levels may not decrease and it may take some time to work, so it is not optimal for patients needing a rapid response.

Other options include chemotherapy such as docetaxel and anti-androgens such as abiraterone and enzalutamide. Docetaxel, unlike Provenge, is given to patients with rapidly progressive disease and who are symptomatic. Abiraterone and enzalutamide are able to be given orally and are generally well tolerated by patients.

Patients with prostate cancer can live a long time, and novel therapies can potentially let you live a longer and more productive life.

Read more in our Prostate Cancer Health Center.


American Cancer Society. What are the key statistics about prostate cancer? Accessed May 22,2013

American Cancer Society. Survival rates for prostate cancer. Accessed May 22, 2013

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