Prostate Cancer Recurrence
Prostate cancer recurrence indicates return of the prostate cancer after it is treated. Cancer may be cured or is supposed to be in an inactive state after receiving the initial treatment, however, it may return in a span of time for some people.
The recurrence of cancer is a troublesome condition as the return of cancerous cells in the body becomes difficult to treat. One of the main reasons for the difficulty in treatment is, the cancerous cells become immune to the primary treatment in certain cases and hence, an advanced and more rigorous treatment technique has to be sought.
Recurrence of cancer of the prostate may be categorized as local recurrence, where the malignancy is confined to prostate or the original location of the cancer. Regional recurrence is said, when the cancer grows beyond the primary location and to the surrounding lymph nodes, while distant recurrence is termed for the involvement of the nearby organs in the malignancy growth.
Diagnosing Recurrence of Prostate Cancer
While patients are worried about the recurrence of the cancer even after receiving primary treatment for prostate cancer, it is anxious time for the doctors as well. After completing one or two schedules of the treatment and confirming destruction of the cancerous cells, regular follow-ups and examinations are required to identify the recurrence of the cancer.
The reason for the cancer to come back may be that the cancerous cells were not destroyed completely during the primary treatment, or that the cancer was much advanced than what the doctors thought and treated for.
The diagnosis of recurrence of prostate cancer is done during the regular check-ups after the initial treatment. A regular schedule for follow-ups will be determined by the doctor for every individual undergoing cancer treatment.
Initially the follow-ups will be relatively more frequent and become less frequent as the time passes. The doctor may prescribe blood tests to determine PSA (prostate specific antigen). The levels of PSA in the blood help determine whether cancer has come back and if the results show any irregularity further diagnostic examinations such as x-rays and MRIs are suggested to confirm the recurrence.
Risk of Prostate Cancer Recurrence
Although, no reason can be established as to why some people face cancer coming back, but there are certain factors (prostate cancer risk factors) that may trigger the recurrence. Many people who have advanced stage of cancer or cancer that has spread to the nearby lymph nodes may have recurrent cancer. The quality of post-treatment care received by the patient plays a significant role in the recurrence of cancer of the prostate.
Also, it is common that if the tumor size was huge while initial treatment, then it may return in a short span of time. If the PSA levels or Gleason scores were high then there is a risk of developing recurrent malignancy in the prostate.
Treatment of Prostate Cancer Recurrence
Treatment options for the recurrent prostate cancer are dependent on various factors. If the initial treatment for the malignant tumor involved radiation therapy, then the same treatment cannot be repeated in a stipulated period of time. Also, factors such as patient's age, overall health conditions, spread of the cancer, any personal treatment preferences etc. are also to be considered while deciding the treatment technique for recurrent cancer of the prostate.
When the recurrence is confined to the prostate gland, treatment becomes easy. However, if the cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes then the treatment techniques such as cryosurgery, radical prostatectomy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or radiation therapy are some of the techniques used.
However, if the cancer has spread beyond the curable stage, then the treatment is generally directed towards controlling the pain and relieving the symptoms and not extracting the cancer. Various drugs to control the growth of the cancer cells are administered as a preventive measure and to offer better quality of life to the patient.
Prostate cancer recurrence can be a fear amongst many couples, however, what is more important is to deal with the fear and take precautionary measures before any such unwelcoming condition is faced.
Take proper care and preventive measures such as following a customized lifestyle to arrest the possibility of cancer of the prostate coming back. Usually, the cancer that recurs after surgery and is localized to the prostate region is easy to cure prostate cancer. For metastasized recurrences, palliative care in prostate cancer is administered to increase the life expectancy of the patient.