Hearing that you have cancer can be devastating. But finding out your cancer has spread is worse. Treatments will be more intense if you even qualify for treatment. Sometimes the disease is too far advanced by the time you learn of it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently warned that metastatic prostate cancer rates are rising in the United States.
What Is Metastatic Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer occurs in a man’s prostate gland. This is the most common cancer for American men at this time. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 192,000 new cases of prostate cancer this year. Even worse, more than 33,300 men will die from prostate cancer.
Although this cancer is common, prostate cancer is often underdiagnosed. Tests that reveal the disease in its early stages are usually not recommended, even when men report symptoms associated with it.
When caught early, prostate cancer has a good potential for successful treatment. However, when undiagnosed, metastatic prostate cancer can result.
“Metastatic” means that the cancer has spread from its point of origin. In this case, that’s the prostate gland. Metastatic prostate cancer can travel through a man’s body, causing cancer to occur in multiple locations. As you might expect, cancer that has metastasized is more challenging to treat.
Is Metastasis Increasing?
According to the CDC, yes. Their research indicates that the “percentage of patients diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer increased from 4% to 8%” between 2003 and 2017. What’s especially disturbing is that prostate cancer cases declined in the same period. So, there are fewer cases, but they’re more serious.
For example, less than one-third of men with metastatic prostate cancer “survive 5 years after diagnosis.”
These findings just underscore the importance of finding prostate cancer in its early stages. When doctors fail to order tests or misread test results, prostate cancer has a greater chance of spreading.
Could Misdiagnosis or Underdiagnosis Cause an Increase in Metastatic Prostate Cancer?
Yes. There are several reasons that metastatic prostate cancer is increasing, but medical practitioners’ mistakes are a definite possibility. If a misdiagnosis or underdiagnosis of your cancer harmed you, speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
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