What Causes Recurrent Prostate Cancer?

Recurrent prostate cancer occurs when a person’s prostate cancer returns after having been previously treated. A patient can be in remission, which is a lack of growth of the cancerous cells, for months, years, or even be told that they’re cancer free, and still have recurrent prostate cancer later in life.

Approximately 40% of prostate cancer patients will experience recurrent prostate cancer at some point. Even though prostate cancer is often slow moving, it’s important to get regular testing and check-ups so that the cancer can be treated quickly and effectively if it reoccurs. PSA levels should be checked and can be used as an indicator as to whether the prostate cancer cells have returned or spread to other parts of the body.

What is the likelihood of recurrence?

There are two known reasons patients experience prostate cancer recurrence: either not all the cancer cells in your body were removed/destroyed during your initial treatment or the cancer was more advanced than originally thought (with a small number of cancer cells occurring outside the prostate). In both cases, over time, those cells can multiply, which causes the cancer to return or even develop in other regions of the body.

Risk factors for recurrent prostate cancer include a patient’s age, family history, genetics, and more. Consult a healthcare professional immediately if you believe you may be at a higher risk for prostate cancer or recurrent prostate cancer.

How is recurrent prostate cancer treated?

Prostate cancer is usually treated with a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. If you suspect that your prostate cancer may have returned, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional immediately and have them perform PSA testing. Other additional testing may be required, including a CT, MRI, or bone scan. Depending on the type and severity of prostate cancer or recurrent prostate cancer, patients may be able to treat their cancer with just radiation, as opposed to more invasive types of treatment such as surgery or chemotherapy.

For recurrent prostate cancer, your doctor may recommend that you receive a course of IMRT, which delivers highly targeted, controlled doses of radiation to the prostate and surrounding tissue, leading to the destruction of cancer cells. Over time, this can prevent the further growth or spread of cancer cells to other areas of the body.

For select advanced prostate cancer patients, radiopharmaceuticals such as Pluvicto (lutetium 177) and radium 223 may also be used to bring radiation therapy directly to the cancer cells.

Our cancer centers in Indiana and Kentucky treat recurrent prostate cancer patients using both IMRT and radiopharmaceuticals, depending on the patient’s specific situation. If you have been recommended for either of these treatments, you have the choice of where to receive them. We’d love to talk to you about your options—reach out to us today.

Learn more about radiation therapy for prostate cancer here.

What resources are available for patients with recurrent prostate cancer?

In addition to medical treatment, having a dedicated support group can make all the difference in a recurrent prostate cancer patient’s life. Notable Indiana and Kentucky cancer support groups for recurrent prostate cancer patients include Findhelp (via The US Oncology Network) and ZERO Prostate Cancer. Find a support group today and learn more about how to confront and process your prostate cancer or recurrent prostate cancer diagnosis.

If you or someone you know has been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer or recurrent prostate cancer, or has been referred for radiation treatment, please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment. Our highly trained team of oncology professionals will work tirelessly to treat your prostate cancer and help you and your loved ones to navigate your cancer journey. A prostate cancer or recurrent prostate cancer diagnosis is never easy news to receive, but we’re here to help.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

If you are referred for radiation therapy during your cancer care, you get to choose where to receive treatment. We are here to support and encourage you—call us today to schedule your first appointment with one of our radiation oncologists at the cancer center nearest to you.