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The information on this page was reviewed and approved by
Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science at CTCA.

This page was updated on November 05, 2020.

Prostate cancer types

The prostate is a walnut-sized organ that surrounds the urethra; it produces a fluid that becomes part of semen. More than 99 percent of prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas, which develop in the gland cells. Symptoms of adenocarcinoma of the prostate include blood in the semen, frequent urge to urinate, and painful urination and ejaculation. Several strategies are used for treating prostate adenocarcinoma. More than one of these treatment options may be used, depending on your individual case and goals, including:

In rarer cases, prostate cancer originates in other tissues of the prostate. This type of cancer is called sarcoma.

Other types of prostate cancer include:

  • Transitional cell carcinomas
  • Small cell carcinomas
  • Neuroendocrine tumors

Recurrent prostate cancer

Prostate cancer treatments are designed to kill cancerous cells, but sometimes, malignant cells remain in the prostate. Recurrent prostate cancer occurs when the cancer has returned after treatment. The malignancy may recur in the prostate area or in other areas of the body.

Cancer that returns to the prostate is called a local recurrence. If the disease develops in another part of the body, it is called metastatic prostate cancer, regional recurrence or distant recurrence. Cancer cells may travel away from the original prostate tumor to other parts of the body through the blood or lymphatic system. If the cancer metastasizes or spreads outside the prostate, it most likely develops in nearby lymph nodes first and then travels to the bones. The cancer may also spread to the liver or other organs.

Next topic: What is metastatic prostate cancer?