What does having recurrent prostate cancer mean?

Having recurrent prostate cancer means that your cancer has returned after a period of time after treatment, such as surgery (radical prostatectomy) or radiotherapy. Your cancer may have returned:

In your prostate gland, if you did not have it removed by surgery.

In the area where your prostate gland used to be (the prostate bed), if the gland was removed by surgery.

In other areas of your body such as the lymph nodes or bones. It is much less common for prostate cancer to spread to other areas such as the liver or the lungs.

If your cancer has returned in the prostate gland or in the prostate bed then you may be offered further treatment aiming to cure the cancer. If your cancer has spread to other parts of your body then treatment is usually aimed at controlling the cancer rather than curing it.

Why does prostate cancer come back?

We do not know exactly why prostate cancer returns, but possible reasons include:

The cancer was more advanced than your doctor originally thought. Sometimes the cancer cells are too small in number to be detected by scans.

Not all of the cancer cells were treated during your initial treatment.

We do not know for certain which men will experience a recurrence, but there are some risk factors that affect the likelihood of your cancer coming back. These aredescribed below.

How do I know if I may be at risk?

Some men are more at risk of a recurrence than others. Your specialist team cannot say whether or not your cancer will return but may be able to tell you about your risk of recurrence. This may be determined by your Gleason score (see page 22) and the stage your cancer had reached when you were diagnosed. If you do not know this information your specialist team will be able to tell you.

The risk of recurrence is:

• Low, if your prostate specific anti