What is Advanced Prostate Cancer?

People can mean a lot of different things when they say they have "advanced" prostate cancer. They can mean that their prostate cancer has spread outside of the prostate but only to tissue near the prostate (like seminal vesicles). Prostate cancer that has not spread far can be called "locally advanced prostate cancer."

If you have localized or "locally advanced" prostate cancer, there are other treatments available.

This article is not for you if you want to learn about initial treatments for men with "locally advanced" cancer. These men may be offered therapies that are not covered in this article such as:

•    Surgery to remove the prostate (prostatectomy) and nearby tissue,
•    Cryotherapy
•    Radiation therapy

Please visit our Prostate Cancer article to learn about these types of treatments.

This article is for men with metastatic and castration-resistant prostate cancer.

The focus of this article is on treatments for prostate cancer that has:

•    Spread far from the prostate (metastatic prostate cancer)
•    Shown signs of growing after using hormone therapy (castration-resistant prostate cancer or CRPC)

Metastatic prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is metastatic if it has spread to: 

  • Lymph nodes outside the pelvis
  • Bones
  • Other organs

You may be diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer when you are first diagnosed, after having completed your first treatment or even many years later. It is uncommon to be diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer on first diagnosis, but it does happen.

Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC)

Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) is when your PSA has risen or your cancer has shown other signs of growing after using hormone therapy. At first, prostate cancer usually responds to hormone treatments. But eventually cancer cells "outsmart" the treatment. They learn how to grow even without testosterone to fuel its growth.

Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC)

If your PSA has risen while on hormone therapy and your cancer has spread far from the prostate, you have metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer or mCRPC. Many of the newest treatments available are for men with mCRPC.

Biochemical recurrence

If your PSA has risen after initial treatment but you have no other sign of cancer, you have "biochemical recurrence." The hormone therapy section of this article will help you understand treatments available to you.

Treatment offers hope for extending the quality and length of life

Metastatic prostate cancer, CRPC and mCRPC are not "curable." However, recent treatment advances offer new hope. New treatments can extend the quality and length of life for men with these types of advanced prostate cancer.

Updated August 2018