Prostate Cancer Progression

Learning more about prostate cancer progression can help you create a plan with your doctor that’s right for you. The more you know about your disease, the more you can take an active role in planning for your next step.

When prostate cancer gets worse or spreads, it’s called progression. Progression can happen even if you are receiving treatment to lower your testosterone, including hormone therapy injections or an implant. That’s why it’s important to work with your doctor to closely monitor your prostate cancer with PSA tests and scans.

Identifying prostate cancer progression

  • PSA Test Icon

    PSA Test

    May help identify if your prostate cancer is progressing despite receiving treatment to lower testosterone

    Prostate cells, including cancerous ones, produce something called prostate-specific antigen, or PSA. Although the risk of prostate cancer progression goes up with rising PSA levels, other factors can affect your PSA levels too. Your doctor will typically check your PSA level throughout treatment using a PSA test. This test can help your doctor monitor your prostate cancer.

    If your PSA levels start to rise while you are receiving treatment to lower your testosterone, this may mean that your cancer is getting worse. Prostate cancer that continues to progress despite low levels of testosterone is known as castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC).

    If your PSA level continues to rise, talk with your doctor about what this means—including your next steps.

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    Questions to ask your doctor

    Use this guide to keep track of your symptoms and share how you’re feeling with your doctor.

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  • Prostate Cancer Scans Icon


    Help identify if your prostate cancer has spread

    Prostate cancer can spread to other parts of your body. When this happens, cancer cells break off from their original location and travel to other areas. In many cases the cancer cells travel to the bones first. When prostate cancer spreads, it’s called metastatic prostate cancer.

    To understand if your prostate cancer has spread, your doctor may recommend different types of scans. These may include an MRI, CT, or bone scan for prostate cancer. Talk to your doctor about what types of scans can be used to help identify whether your cancer has spread.

    Some men may experience symptoms as their prostate cancer spreads, such as:

    • Fatigue
    • Bone pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Trouble urinating

    Keep in mind that these symptoms may be caused by other factors, too.

    Metastatic prostate cancer doesn’t always cause noticeable symptoms. Because of this, it’s important to be proactive about monitoring your cancer. The earlier your doctor determines if your prostate cancer has progressed, the sooner he or she can identify the right treatment for you.

  • PSA Test & Prostate Cancer Scans Icon

    PSA Tests and Scans

    Your doctor may use a combination of PSA tests and scans to help identify and monitor a specific type of progression. This type of progression is called metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), which is considered a type of advanced prostate cancer.

    This type of progression means:

    • Multiple PSA tests have confirmed a rise in PSA despite low levels of testosterone
    • Scans have confirmed the cancer has spread to other parts of the body

    There are many effective treatments that can help fight prostate cancer that has progressed—including new treatments that have been approved by the FDA in recent years.