While the first 3 stages of prostate cancer offer a high rate of success in beating back the disease, stage 4 prostate cancer needs to be tackled on all fronts as the cancer would have spread considerably. There are various treatments that could be tried to bring back the patient from the brink or at least alleviate the pain and discomfort if there is no hope for recovery.
What is stage 4?
This type of cancer starts from the prostate gland but if detected late or if various treatments fail to stop its growth then it could start affecting neighboring organs such as the rectum, testicles, etc in the first 3 stages. However, if the cancer spreads to various vital organs such as the liver, lungs or bones then this is known as metastatic or stage 4 prostate cancer and the chances of recovery will now be stacked against the patient. Treatment will require several therapies that will need to be aggressively administered on a war footing, if not to cure then at least to slow down the growth of the cancer and to lessen the associated pain.
Treatment for this Stage of Cancer
If a patient has reached stage 4 prostate cancer after passing through the other 3 stages then he would probably have tried surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc without much success. In such a case therapies such as Androgen Deprivation Therapy or ADT could try to shrink the prostate gland and slow down the growth of cancer. However, this treatment is controversial due to the difference of opinion amongst doctors; some doctors claim that this is not a cure but only a means to delay further growth of cancerous cells. Secondary hormone treatment too could be tried by changing the hormone suppressors that might have been tried previously so as to boost chances of success. Patients might also have to go in for aggressive chemotherapy in a desperate bid to destroy cancer cells that might have spread to various organs. Chemotherapy also includes drugs that can reduce pain and discomfort, especially in patients that might not have a chance of bouncing back.
For patients that do not respond to any therapy or combination of therapies, doctors might suggest that they partake in clinical trials where new drugs or treatments can be tested on them. This could be their last chance to fight the disease and also help researchers to perfect the therapy for use in future patients suffering from stage 4 prostate cancer.
Future steps for survivors of this stage of cancer
If a patient has successfully beat back prostate cancer then he might still need to go in for regular checkups since some cancers are known to return after a lull. Certain drugs might also be needed to be consumed regularly by the patient to prevent the cancer from returning and also to provide vital vitamins or nutrients that the patient might have lost during treatment.
Although the odds of beating stage four cancer are low, it is definitely possible to emerge out of the shadow of cancer, albeit with some collateral damage to certain organs. However, patients should not lose hope and try various therapies to beat the cancer and reclaim their lives.
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