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Prostate Cancer and Survival Rates

Prostate cancer is challenging, but patients who receive an early diagnosis often have a favorable outlook thanks to the ability to receive treatment in the initial stages of the disease. Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) is one of the nation’s largest networks of oncology specialists, with more than 20 locations throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area. RCCA’s medical oncologists provides comprehensive and compassionate care to patients with all types of cancer, including prostate cancer. Here, we discuss factors that can affect prostate cancer survival rates, as well as the different treatment options for patients.

Doctor explains diagnosis to patient in clinic care room using diagram of the male reproductive parts

About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, with almost 300,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. The disease starts within the prostate gland, a male organ that is responsible for the production of semen. The prostate is located just underneath the bladder. Most prostate cancers are a type of adenocarcinoma, which are cancers that develop in glandular cells.

Although rare, a tumor can also develop because of other types of prostate cancers, such as sarcomas and transitional cell carcinomas. All cells in the body are susceptible to cancer. However, the development of cancerous cells depends on many factors, such as genetics, family history, previous cases of cancer, and others. The rate of cancer cell growth can also vary depending on the patient—some prostate cancers are slow-growing while others grow quickly and spread fast.

Prostate Cancer Survival Rates

In the United States, prostate cancer statistics show that the five-year relative survival rate is 97 percent. Cancer survival rates can differ depending on factors such as whether the cancer is contained locally or has spread to other parts of the body.  

It is important to note that general survival rate statistics cannot indicate whether a specific patient will or will not survive his cancer or how long he will live. They simply show the average survival rate for most cases of the disease. Patients should talk with their medical oncologist for more information about their specific diagnosis, treatment plan, and outlook.

What Can Affect Survival Rates?

Many factors impact the outlook for a patient with prostate cancer, including:

Age and Overall Health

Prostate cancer is most often diagnosed in men who are 65 or older. But, in uncommon cases, men under 65 can develop the disease. Younger patients may have an easier time fighting off the cancer, positively affecting their chances of survival. While older patients may experience more difficulty dealing with the disease and certain therapies used to treat it, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, it is important to remember that the overall five-year relative survival rate of 97% is based on the full population of people with prostate cancer, most of whom are relatively older. Further, patients of all ages can take steps to optimize their health through good nutrition, stress management, and remaining physically active through an exercise regimen outlined or approved by their physician. 

Stage of Cancer

The stage of prostate cancer indicates the size, spread, and severity of the cancer.  

If the cancer is found only within the prostate and nearby areas, the patient has local or regional-stage prostate cancer. The five-year relative survival rate for those with this stage of cancer is approximately 99 percent. This means those who catch and treat their cancer early usually make a full recovery.

If left untreated, prostate cancer can spread to more distant parts of the body. The five-year relative survival rate for those with this advanced stage of prostate cancer is 32 percent, although great progress has been made in treating prostate cancer that has metastasized, or spread, and the five-year survival rate is likely to increase in the years ahead as a result.

Family History

Family history is a risk factor for developing cancer and may also impact the survival rate for patients with prostate cancer. If a patient has a family history of prostate or other cancers, this might increase the chances that his prostate cancer is aggressive and returns after treatment.

Other factors also impact a specific patient’s outlook. Patients can discuss their prognosis and treatment options with their medical oncologist to obtain a clear understanding of their particular situation.

Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer

Patients with prostate cancer have a number of treatment options, including:


For patients with early cases of prostate cancer that has not spread to other areas of the body, surgery is one method of treatment.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy alters the body’s ability to produce hormones that can fuel the growth of cancer cells. Given by injection or pill, hormone therapy often is administered in conjunction with other treatments.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and prevent their spread. Patients may undergo external or internal radiation or receive radioactive medications.


Chemotherapy uses powerful medications to attack and kill cancer cells or prevent them from spreading. By reducing the size of tumors, these drugs may also alleviate pain and other symptoms. Chemotherapy may be administered orally or intravenously.


Immunotherapy enhances the body’s immune system, empowering it to recognize and destroy cancer cells.

Targeted therapy

Like chemotherapy, targeted therapy uses drugs to attack cancer cells or disrupt their function and reproduction. However, these medications specifically affect malignant cells – typically by binding to receptors on their surface — while leaving healthy cells intact.

The Importance of Early Detection

It can be easy to miss early cases of prostate cancer, especially if a patient does not have symptoms. This is why it is important to make regular screening appointments. Those with an average risk of prostate cancer should begin screening at around age 55. Men who are at elevated risk for prostate cancer by virtue of factors such as Black/African ancestry or a family history of the disease should begin screening earlier, and should talk with their physician about the optimal time to begin screening. A simple blood test to measure levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is the most widely used method for screening, although some physicians also perform a brief digital rectal examination. If a patient has abnormal results, physicians may have them return for additional procedures and tests.

Men should also discuss their family’s history of cancer with loved ones. If several relatives have been diagnosed with cancer, there may be a genetic predisposition to the disease that can increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer.

Most cases of prostate cancer are detected in the local or regional stage, meaning the cancer has yet to spread to other areas of the body. By receiving regular screenings and understanding their family and personal medical history, men can take a proactive approach to protecting their health and to receiving any needed treatment while prostate cancer is still in its early stage.

Receive Treatment at Regional Cancer Care Associates

With more than 20 locations across New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area, patients can receive compassionate and comprehensive cancer treatment from RCCA. Regional Cancer Care Associates specializes in treating a variety of cancers, including prostate cancers and blood disorders. To learn more about prostate cancer treatment options, contact us or request an appointment at the nearest location today.

we are here for you

For more information or to schedule an appointment,
call 844-346-7222. You can also schedule an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you.


Regional Cancer Care Associates is one of fewer than 200 medical practices in the country selected to participate in the Oncology Care Model (OCM); a recent Medicare initiative aimed at improving care coordination and access to and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries undergoing chemotherapy treatment.