Types of Prostate Cancer
There are three main types of prostate cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma. This is the most common type of prostate cancer. This is a slow growing cancer that does have the potential to spread beyond the prostate to other areas, such as lymph nodes, bones, and other organs.
- Small cell carcinoma. A rare aggressive prostate cancer, this cancer creates specialized cells in the prostate. This cancer does not often increase prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels which makes it harder to detect in its early stages.
Rarer prostate cancers. There are also other, rarer types of prostate cancer that do exist.
Find Out Your Risk Level — “Your Type”
Before selecting treatment the first thing to learn is your personal “Risk Level”.
The chart below shows the way doctors measure Risk Level. You can compare your own test results to this chart to understand your Risk Level.
To be “Low-Risk”, all your results must meet the Low-Risk standards in the green row in the table below. Even one result outside the green means you are either Intermediate-Risk (Yellow) High-Risk (Red)
Not all experts agree on the exact line between Intermediate-Risk and High-Risk.
- Some say that having two or more scores in the Intermediate range raises the risk to High.
- Others believe that you are not High-Risk until you have one or more tests that are clearly in the High-Risk range.
Active Surveillance May Be Your Best Option
Studies now show that if you have Low-Risk disease, you only need regular checkups instead of having immediate surgery or radiation. Following the approach of monitoring rather than immediate treatment, more than half of men with Low-Risk tumors have not required treatment five years later.
In another study of Low-Risk disease, men who received immediate treatment were compared with men who only got checkups until the cancer became higher risk. The outcome was the same in both groups. However, the men who waited were able to avoid treatment for years (and its side effects) until they really needed it.
Waiting is not right for every man with prostate cancer, but it’s a good option for men with Low-Risk disease.
Where to Learn More
Talk to your doctors. Visit a support group. Many men in support groups will gladly share their experiences and knowledge. Visit our website at www. pcri.org, or contact the PCRI helpline via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 800-641-PCRI.
As you learn more, you can make better choices and feel more confident about them.