Is prostate cancer in men curable?
Any cancer behaves a typical pattern of origin and progression in sequential stages. Prostate cancer is not an exception to this. There is a finite period until which the cancer cells are located only inside the prostate gland. They usually come out of the capsule locally and may invade seminal vesicles. After a certain interval, these cancer cells travel through blood vessels or lymph nodes to reach other parts of the body. After spreading, cancer cells may attach to other tissues and grow to form new tumors, causing damage where they land which is similar to a ‘seed and soil concept’. This patterns of spread would depend on the aggressiveness of the cancer also called as a biology of the disease.
Prostate cancer is indeed a curable disease and the intention of cure can very well be achieved until the cancer cells are restricted to only local (prostate) or loco-regional area (seminal vesicles or pelvic lymph nodes). Once the cancer cells come out completely and get deposited in some other part of the body like bone, the intention of the treatment in this setting changes from cure to long term control. In both the intents of treatment (cure or control) depending upon the stage, most pivotal is to maintain good quality of life.
Inputs by Dr. Ashwin Tamhankar Consultant Uro-oncology and Robotic Surgery at Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai.