Living life to the fullest with metastatic prostate cancer

Health Monitor Staff
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Are you planning for fun times in the months ahead? Austin resident Ric Fox thinks that’s a good idea—and that’s despite being diagnosed with Stage IV prostate cancer four years ago. “It can be scary for sure, but learning how to truly live in the moment diminishes the fear and helps me to appreciate everything. Everyone also needs a future, though, so I continue to set goals and make plans. I don’t always accomplish what I set out to do, but I still look forward to doing whatever I can,” says Ric, who decided he wanted to play a one-man gig—just him and his guitar. So he started doing open mikes through the summer—which culminated in a one-hour show near his Austin home. “Being able to accomplish that goal really builds my confidence in going through my days. Yes, I can still live my life. I can still be a vital part of the community.

“I enjoy every good moment I have,” adds Ric. That’s thanks in large part to today’s advanced treatments that fight prostate cancer and prolong life.

What is metastatic prostate cancer?
Stage IV, or metastatic prostate cancer, occurs when cancerous cells break away from the original tumor in the prostate gland and travel through blood or lymph vessels to lymph nodes, organs or tissues in other parts of the body. Some men are diagnosed when they experience a recurrence after their initial treatment. A small percentage is initially diagnosed with Stage IV disease.

Where does it spread?
In Stage IV prostate cancer, malignant cells have moved outside the prostate gland and seminal vesicles (the glands that contain semen) to the lymph nodes, nearby tissue or organs (such as the rectum, bladder or pelvic wall) or to distant tissue or organs. Most often, these cells target the bones—particularly the hips, spine and ribs. Less frequently, prostate cancer spreads to the lungs and liver and, in rare instances, the brain.

What are the symptoms?
Some men with metastatic prostate cancer have no symtoms. Others may experience bone pain, weight loss, swelling in the legs and feet, pelvic discomfort, erectile problems, trouble urinating, and blood in the urine and/or semen.

Can treatment still help?
While Stage IV prostate cancer cannot be cured, it can be treated. Therapies can halt or slow cancer growth and ease challenging symptoms such as bone pain, so men are able to live with this disease with excellent quality of life and for many years even after it has metastasized. Just look at Ric: Diagnosed four years ago, he’s still upbeat and going strong! To find out about various treatments and how they can help you, read on.

Watch Ric's video below

April 2015