Movember: what is the life expectancy with prostate cancer?

While prostate cancer remains the most common in men in France, ahead of lung cancer, it has a very good vital prognosis. Early diagnosis, coupled with significant progress on the therapeutic level, can increase the life expectancy of patients.

After a month of October dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer, begins the month of November and the Movember to raise awareness of male cancers. Thirty days to alert the male population to these heterogeneous diseases which represent the leading cause of death in men in France. Prostate cancer remains the most common (50,400 new diagnoses in 2018), ahead of lung cancer (31,200) and colorectal cancer (23,000), according to data from the National Cancer Institute. Rare before the age of 50 without a history, prostate cancer is diagnosed on average around the age of 70, and is not subject to any national screening program set up by the health authorities in France.

95% of patients will have a life expectancy of more than 15 years

Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor that usually grows slowly, developed from cells of the prostate gland of the male reproductive system. Once diagnosed, only a minority of prostate cancers have serious consequences. Indeed, the survival rate is improving, in particular due to earlier detection and significant technological and therapeutic progress. These advances mean that 95% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will have a life expectancy of more than 15 years. In the case of advanced stage cancer, with the development of metastases in the bones in particular, survival can still reach 5 to 6 years. Also, the life expectancy of a patient with metastatic castration-resistant cancer, the incurable form, has increased from less than a year to almost 3 years, can we read on the site dedicated to professionals of health.

Get informed before getting tested

To date, there is no evidence that screening for prostate cancer can reduce mortality, estimated at approximately 800 deaths per year in France. If the PSA (prostate specific antigen) assay associated with a digital rectal examination can detect the disease in men without symptoms, they are insufficiently reliable. “In 70% of cases, it turns out that a high PSA level was not, in fact, linked to prostate cancer and wrongly worried the man,” says Health Insurance. In addition to false negatives, these examinations also expose patients to the risk of diagnosing and treating cancers that would not have had an impact on an individual’s quality and life expectancy. On the other hand, it is recommended to consult a doctor for a control if you observe changes in your urination habits, the first warning symptom, in particular the difficulty in urinating or the fact of urinating more often.

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⋙ Screening for prostate cancer: why so much controversy?

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