Prostate cancer typically consists of many very small tumours within the prostate. At this stage, the disease is often curable (rates of 90% or better) with standard treatments such as surgery or radiation. Unfortunately, at this stage the cancer produces few or no symptoms and can be difficult to detect.
If untreated and allowed to grow, the cells from these tumours can spread to other parts of the body in a process called metastasis. Once the cancer has spread beyond the prostate, cure rates drop dramatically.
In most cases, prostate cancer is a relatively slow-growing cancer, which means that it typically takes a number of years for the disease to become detectable, and even longer to spread beyond the prostate. However, a small percentage of patients experience more aggressive forms of prostate cancer.
Treatment options for prostate cancer include surgery, radiation, hormone treatment and chemotherapy. Which treatment is chosen depends on factors such as the stage of the cancer and the patient’s age, other health issues and willingness to undergo certain procedures or therapies – some of which may have side effects.
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