Metastatic prostate cancer is prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the prostate gland, which is a walnut-shaped organ located below a man's bladder that produces fluid for semen.
The exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, but factors such as age and family history increase a man's risk of developing the disease.
Metastatic prostate cancer may not cause symptoms. It may be discovered in exams and tests that are part of follow-up care for earlier treatment. Symptoms may include bone pain, weight loss, or swelling in the legs and feet.
Prostate cancer usually is a disease of older men. Bone scans may be used to discover metastatic prostate cancer, which often appears in bones. Other tests that may be used to determine the extent of metastatic prostate cancer include CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans.
Treatment for metastatic prostate cancer focuses on relieving symptoms and slowing the rate at which the cancer spreads. Treatment may include hormone therapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and chemotherapy. In some cases, participation in a clinical trial of a new treatment may be an option.
Last Revised: June 28, 2010
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & J. Curtis Nickel, MD, FRCSC - Urology
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