Patients diagnosed with prostate cancer are often told by their doctors that they likely will die of something else before they die of prostate cancer. That may or may not be a true statement. Doctors say it because many believe that most prostate cancer is slow growing. The reality is, when it comes to prostate cancer, there is no good way to tell if it is slow growing or may be fatal.
In fact, 50% of prostate cancers thought to be slow growing turned out to be aggressive and should have been treated immediately instead of watching and waiting.
So, let’s examine this more closely. Could a man diagnosed with prostate cancer likely die of something else before prostate cancer? That all depends on his age, overall health and whether his cancer is one that falls into the aggressive or fatal category.
And again – as of now – there is no way to know that for sure.
Translation: There is no definitive way of knowing if a man will die of something other than prostate cancer if he’s diagnosed with the disease.
The real question becomes, is it worth the gamble? And that’s a very personal decision for a man diagnosed with the disease.
What we do know is the five-year survival rate in the United States for men who are diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, when the disease is easier to treat, is more than 99%, making a man’s chance of dying from prostate cancer low, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his life, according to the American Cancer Society, and most men are diagnosed after the age of 65 when they may have other health issues as well. Yet prostate cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer deaths among American men.
Keep in mind, the earlier the cancer is caught – and treated – the better the chance a man will stay cancer-free.
In a study conducted between 2000 and 2016 of more than 26,000 patients with metastatic prostate cancer – or prostate cancer that has spread — 16,732 died from prostate cancer during the follow-up period. Nearly 78% of the deaths were attributed to prostate cancer. About 5.5% were from other cancers, 16.7% were from other diseases like cardiovascular disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to research published in 2021 in JAMA Network Open conducted by the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Of the men who died in the study, 59% died within two years of the diagnosis. Of that group, 79% died from prostate cancer. Men in the study who were younger than 50 when diagnosed had an increased risk of dying within that two-year period.
Outliving Prostate Cancer
Yet men with both early and advanced disease can outlive their prostate cancers – without long-term side effects like impotence or incontinence – because state-of-the-art treatment options can treat the cancer and extend their lives.
CyberKnife, which uses a form of targeted radiation known as stereotactic body radiation therapy or SBRT, is one of those options. CyberKnife can be used as a first-line treatment for early-stage prostate cancer. It can be combined with hormone therapy for cancer that has spread into nearby tissues. It can also be used to slow progression in advanced cancer or cancer that has recurred after previous treatment.
With traditional surgery, it is often difficult or impossible – especially with metastatic cancer that is stage 4 – to remove the entire tumor and cancerous areas. Often doctors recommend radiation therapy after surgery.
CyberKnife alone can treat prostate cancer, especially if it’s low grade and localized to the prostate cancer. For these early prostate cancers, cure rates with radiation are about the same as men treated with radical prostatectomy, which is surgery to remove the prostate gland and may cause long-term issues for a man’s urinary and sexual health, according to the American Cancer Society.
For patients with metastatic prostate cancer, ones who can’t have surgery, failed other treatments or have been told there’s nothing left to do – CyberKnife can also be a viable treatment. At the CyberKnife Center of Miami we treat all prostate cancers — from early to metastatic prostate cancers.
Prostate Cancer Treatment Miami
“Years of mounting research is proving CyberKnife to be the gold standard for treating prostate cancer, and as more men learn about CyberKnife, it is becoming the number one treatment of choice,” says Dr. Mark Pomper, board-certified radiation oncologist and medical director of CyberKnife Miami. CyberKnife for prostate cancer treatment has distinct benefits as far as treatment options go.
- CyberKnife has up to a 98% cure rate for prostate cancer.
- CyberKnife treatments can be done in five radiation therapy sessions over 10 days compared to 42 to 45 over three months with other types of radiation treatments.
- The CyberKnife radiation beams, which target only the prostate, are so precise that healthy tissue is left unharmed so there is a lower risk of side effects including impotence and incontinence.
- It’s noninvasive so there are no risks of infection or long periods of downtime like there is with surgery.
- Treatments are outpatient and last 30 to 60 minutes.
- Side effects are minimal and may include fatigue and urinary discomfort.
- Patients can be treated repeatedly with CyberKnife.
At the CyberKnife Center of Miami, we treat prostate cancer patients every day. That’s one reason patients from around South Florida and the country turn to us.
For the record, at CyberKnife Miami, we don’t believe in waiting to see what happens. If you have prostate cancer, our top cancer doctors say you should get treated right away. We look at cancer as a ticking time bomb. Why wait to see if it will go off when you can kill it right away and not have to carry the weight of that worry and burden around for months on end.
Get it taken care of, get cancer behind you and get on with your life.
If you would like to find out more about prostate cancer treatment with CyberKnife, call us at 305-279-2900 or go to our prostate cancer website now for more information www.prostatecancertreatmentmiami.com