Recurrent Prostate Cancer

What is Recurrent Prostate Cancer?

Recurrent prostate cancer is a form of cancer that returns after it has been initially treated. Once a patient goes through treatment for prostate cancer, such as surgery or radiation, there is a chance the cancer can return. The return of prostate cancer is known as a recurrence or relapse.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer recurrence depend on the particular form. If the cancer has metastasized, it may appear in the bones before it is noticed in the prostate. The most common sign of prostate cancer recurrence is a rise in PSA levels that were previously normal or low. Other signs of recurrent prostate cancer include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Pain in the lower back, hips, or pelvic area
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Swelling in the legs or feet
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Blood in the urine

Risk Factors

The most important risk factor for recurrent prostate cancer is a high-grade or aggressive form of the cancer. Other risk factors include:

  • Having a prostate cancer that did not respond to initial treatments such as surgery or radiation
  • Having a large amount of cancer remaining after the initial treatment
  • Not undergoing enough treatment to completely remove all of the cancerous cells
  • Having a PSA level that starts to rise within 6 months of the initial treatment
  • Having a PSA level that is still elevated 1 year after the initial treatment


Treatment of recurrent prostate cancer depends on the individual patient and the particular form of the cancer. Common treatments include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Clinical trials

The goals of treatment for recurrent prostate cancer are to control or slow the progression of the disease, as well as minimize symptoms. It is important to talk with a doctor to develop the best treatment plan for each individual patient.