What Happens If Prostate Cancer Comes Back?

Any cancer patient can tell you that they hope that their cancer will go away for good. And while many people do survive cancer, it can return. Prostate cancer, just like any cancer, can return. While prostate cancer is common, especially among older men, it’s got a fairly positive outcome. When caught early and treated, most men survive and continue with remission after five years. Unfortunately, for a small percentage of men, the cancer returns. At Epic Care CyberKnife, we strive to provide comprehensive cancer care in Walnt Creek, CA. If you have (or currently dealing with) prostate cancer, here are signs and symptoms to look out for prostate cancer recurrence.

Recurrent Prostate Cancer

Recurrent prostate cancer is when prostate cancer returns after the initial treatment or after partial to complete remission. This is due to the reemergence of surviving prostate cancer cells. Following a prosta tectomy, your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels begin to decrease. Once following prostate cancer treatment, PSA levels should be low (through detectible through blood tests). This is an indication that prostate cancer is no longer present. However, there is no clear reference for a “normal” PSA. If PSA levels begin to rise again, further tests are needed.

Even if you’ve had a prostatectomy, prostate cancer can still recur in different areas, including the surrounding tissue, lymph nodes, seminal vesicles, muscles that control urination, the rectum, the wall of the pelvic, and more.

How Common Is It

The recurrence of prostate cancer depends on when it was caught and treated initially. Recurrence occurs if not all of the cancer cells were treated the first time around or if the cancer was in the more advanced stage. If your doctor was able to remove the cancer while it was still confined in the prostate gland, your chances of recurrence are fairly low. If your cancer spreads before treatment, recurrence is more likely to occur.


Recurrent prostate cancer is usually detected during follow up appointments with your urologist/oncologist. Once you undergo the initial prostate cancer treatment, your doctors will monitor your PSA levels and symptoms. If your PSA levels begin to rise, it can be an indication that the cancer has returned. If so, your doctor will determine the best course of action for a second round of treatment.

Factors That Increase Recurrence

Many different factors can help you determine what your risk of recurrence is. This can include:

  • Lymph Nodes-If your cancer has metastasized to your lymph nodes, recurrence is more likely.
  • Tumor Size-The larger the tumor, the more likely it is that you are going to experience complications and recurrence.
  • Tumor Spread & Location-If the tumor is intertwined or growing into other areas of your body, this also increases risk.
  • Cancer Stage-The stage of prostate cancer affects recurrence rates. When caught early, recurrence is not as likely as cancers that are in stage three or four.

No matter what, recurrence can happen anywhere at any stage. Visit your doctor regularly, eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep to ensure that you are keeping healthy and keeping your immune system strong.

Follow Up Treatment

When diagnosed with recurrent prostate cancer, it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Recurrent prostate cancer can be more aggressive and result in the cancer spreading to lymph nodes and bone if not addressed quickly. In certain cases, if your PSA levels increase, your doctor may recommend a combination of radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of treatment efforts.

Get Care Today at Epic Care CyberKnife!

Need help treating your prostate cancer? Contact Epic Care CyberKnife today! Our Walnut Creek, CA office offers comprehensive CyberKnife treatment for not just prostate cancer, but other cancers as well. Contact us today to get started on a treatment plan that works for you! We’ll be happy to answer any questions or concerns you have. We want to help you beat cancer for good.