What is recurrent prostate cancer?
Recurrent prostate cancer is cancer that has come back after the following treatments:
- surgery (radical prostatectomy)
- external beam radiotherapy (EBRT)
- permanent seed brachytherapy
- temporary brachytherapy
- high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
All these treatments aim to get rid of the prostate cancer. But sometimes not all the cancer is successfully treated, or the cancer may have been more advanced than first thought.
Finding out your cancer has returned
Your doctors and nurses will have monitored you after your first treatment to check for any signs that the cancer has come back.
Usually the first sign that your cancer is starting to return is a rise in the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in your blood. The PSA test is a very effective way of checking how successful your treatment has been.
The exact change in PSA level that suggests that your cancer has come back depends on which treatment you had. Your doctor may do other tests to check if, and where, your cancer has come back.
Your prostate cancer may have come back in one or more areas. It could be:
- in your prostate gland, if it hasn’t been removed by surgery
- in the area around where your prostate gland used to be (called the prostate bed) if the prostate has been removed by surgery
- in the area just outside your prostate gland
- in other areas of your body
Prostate cancer can spread to any part of the body but it most commonly spreads to the bones and lymph nodes.
Ask your doctor or nurse for more details about where your cancer is or is likely to be.