What Is Stage IV Prostate Cancer Life Expectancy?

Prostate cancer diagnosis
Prostate cancer diagnosed in the advanced stages is difficult to cure, although many people live for many years with effective treatment.

The survival rate in most people with advanced prostate cancer (Stage IV) is 30 percent at the fifth year of diagnosis. This means around 70 percent of the diagnosed men are not alive in the fifth year after diagnosis.

Most advanced-stage prostate cancer is diagnosed in older men. Studies have shown that some of the following complications are the most common cause of death:

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is cancer that affects the prostate gland in men. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for men in the US.

The prostate lies below the bladder and in front of the rectum. In men, the size of the prostate increases with increasing age. In younger men, it is about the size of a walnut. Its primary function is to make fluid to nourish the semen.

Growth in the prostate can be of two types

  1. Benign growths: These are noncancerous growths and are rarely a threat to life. For example, benign prostatic hyperplasia.
  2. Malignant growths: These are cancerous growths that can sometimes be life-threatening.

Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland and may spread to the nearby areas: lymph nodes, organs, or bones in other parts of the body.

How is advanced-stage prostate cancer treated?

Prostate cancer diagnosed in the advanced stages is difficult to cure, although many people live for many years with effective treatment. Prostate cancer that has spread to distant organs and bones is treatable but cannot be cured with current standard therapies.

Treatment choices for advanced-stage prostate cancer involve

  • Hormone therapy - Hormone therapy intends to lower a man’s testosterone or hormone levels. Testosterone is the main energy source for prostate cancer cells. Hormone therapy targets to slow down the prostate cancer growth in men with stage IV prostate cancer. Hormone therapy options include:
    • Medications that stop the body from producing testosterone: Some of the commonly used medications include leuprolide, goserelin, triptorelin, histrelin, and degarelix.
    • Orchiectomy: It involves the removal of testicles to lower testosterone levels in the body.
    • Anti-androgens: Medications that block testosterone from reaching cancer cells include bicalutamide, flutamide, and nilutamide.
  • Radiation therapyRadiation therapy for advanced-stage prostate cancer uses a large machine that directs high-energy beams to the area around cancer. Radiation therapy may also be used to prevent pain or fractures caused by cancer spreading to the bone.
  • Surgery - Surgery isn’t a treatment option for stage IV prostate cancer. However, it might be recommended in certain situations. Surgery is usually an option for men who are experiencing signs and symptoms that require surgical intervention.
  • Chemotherapy - Chemotherapy can treat advanced-stage prostate cancer by
    • Delaying the growth of cancer cells.
    • Easing signs and symptoms of cancer.
    • Extending the lives of men with advanced prostate cancer.
  • Immunotherapy - Immunotherapy destroys cancer kills by using the immune system. Sipuleucel-T is used to destroy prostate cancer cells.
  • Treatment directed at bone complications - These include drug therapy or radiation therapy. Drugs used to treat bone complications include


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Riihimäki M, Thomsen H, Brandt A, Sundquist J, Hemminki K. What do prostate cancer patients die of? Oncologist. 2011;16(2):175-181. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228081/

American Cancer Society. Survival Rates for Prostate Cancer. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-rates.html

Mayo Clinic. Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stage-4-prostate-cancer/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20377972