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Advanced Prostate Cancer
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MSSC - Spinal Cord Compression


My father was diagnosed with advanced Prostate cancer about 6 weeks ago when he was rushed into surgery following numbness in his legs - the cancer had spread and a tumour was pressing onto his spine. Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression.

Fortunately he was operated on swiftly and successfully and though he is not as quick on his feet as he was he can walk well without a stick, climb stairs, drive etc.

He has started ADT (degarelix to start but now Lupron) along with chemo (docetaxel) and has been enrolled onto the STAMPEDE trial. Gets the rare hot flush, but all in all you'd never really guess he was unwell at all.

My question relates to MSSC - all over the Internet it talks about how the prognosis after suffering from this is extremely short, in the weeks or months, but I don't understand how. Is it a different more deadly 'type' of cancer? As far as I can tell it is generally so serious because of its location and ability to cause paralysis if not caught early.

Given that they removed this and my Dad has good mobility etc isn't he in a similar boat to everyone else with advanced prostate cancer that has gone to the bones (standard prognosis 3-5 years)?

Its not immediately clear from my reading. Given how well and mobile he seems and the doctors/Oncologists approach (pretty laid back and going through standard care) surely his prognosis can't be 3 months?

Or maybe I'm just kidding myself

Love and best wishes to you all


15 Replies


I don't know the answer, but you and your dad certainly are in my thoughts. I hope someone here can answer.




Welcome to this site. You will fine a wealth of information here.

I don't know if anyone can say with confidence how long your father has but I do know the best people to ask would be his oncologist, but even if they have a similar case everyone responds differently to treatments.

The best advice I can give is to take whatever time you get and spend it doing the things that give you and you'd dad the most enjoyment.

Worry less about the time left and more about how you spend that time you get no matter how long it is.

Don't give up hope!

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It's said somewhere that Mind has power over Matter. What you have said about his response to his treatment means that he has the Will to continue living . That is First part of the battle won. Though the War is not over he has shown that he has the reserve of ammunition to fight on. All he has to do is to co-operate with the Oncs and use the inner power has shown to get well.

May he have successfully recovery. God bless

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J, It is great that your Dad has good mobility after surgery I guess to remove the spine mets that were interfering withhis spinal chord, It is so good that after that he has mobility. The adt ,and chemo should shrink any mets he has. What was his pr dx psa, and how far has it fallen since the start. Make sure testosterone level is below 32 (US scale). I was given a year to live 11 years ago , still kicking, flying to Alaska Saturday. This is a good paper on MSCC prostatecanceruk.org/prosta...



Hi Dan, thanks for your reply.

His PSA at diagnosis was 27 though don't know yet what that has fallen to following adt and chemo as this hasn't been retested yet as far as I'm aware. Also unsure if the testosterone has ever been tested so not sure of that score.

11 year survival is fantastic - wishing you many more


I wanted to add a excellent paper on Cancer Statistics phoenix5.org/articles/Gould...

I wish you both the best ,It says a lot that you advocate for your Dad like you do!




Sorry to hear about your dad's condition. But he has a great advocate in you!

I almost had spinal compression. I was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago, bone metastasis in my T8 vertebra. It was extremely painful, as I suffered a cracked vertebra. I was 53 at the time, PSA 227, Gleason 4+4=8. I started ADT immediately, had radiation to the T8 and then had 6-rounds of taxotere about 12-weeks after diagnosis. PSA went to 9 in the first month and then undetectable after 4-months, remaining there for the next year. And is just now slowly rising, up to 1.4 now.

I tell you all this because I asked the same question. And after talking to my medical oncologist, I realized the median life expectancy is for people with PCa that are, on average, age 65 and the statistics do not include the host of new treatment options. I was much younger and in very good health.

I'm still working full time. And generally enjoying life. And I intend to do so for a long time. I hope your dad does, too! Lots of folks on this site have similar experiences...like Dan!

Hope this helps you in the quest for what you are trying to learn!




If the spread is limited to the spine chances are he has a lot longer than 3-6 months....a more serious condition would be additional metastasis to bone marrow or organs


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Thanks for this Gus.

It seems only to have gone to his spine and a few ribs. Not great, but no indication yet that it's in his organs or lymph nodes


My prayers for you dad's longevity. Statistics don't count the effectiveness of modern treatments. Besides each individual responds differently. Don't lose hopes.


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My father has similar case.....he was operated succesfully but unfortunately he couldnt move befre surgery...we didnt realise it soon enough...now he is in rehab and after two months he moves his legs giving us hope that soon he will walk again....he still doesnt have the power to stand and walk but after surgery he is improved since before he couldnt move them....i dont know about statistics ...i nver paid attention to tell u the truth...my father was diagnosed 6 years ago and he was doing really well until this compression.....i dont know what will happen in the future but its almost three months post surgery....and we are still here....


J, I certainly understand what your dad is going through as in early 2004, I went through similar concerns. With mets to T3 and L2 and a PSA of 32.4, my biggest fear was spinal column compression and, according to all available statistics, 2-5 years to live. To me this was unacceptable and I immediately enrolled into a six month chemo trial in Houston, Texas. I wanted to attack this Cancer while my body was strong and the tumor burden minimal.

I will tell you that T was kept below 5 during this period. I had weekly blood draws with the results four pages in length every week for ten months. Key was PSA and T with the various other markers known to the Medical Community. End result, mets were resolved! New bone growth occurred. I am very careful about placing stress on my spinal column as I know that even with resolved mets and new bone growth, plus my age, the integrity of the spine is not as strong as it once was. I am fortunate that my Medical Oncologist, Cardiologist, Orthopedist, and Gastroenterologist (as well as my Radiation Oncologist) all communicate although in different locations in a 150 square mile area.

A doctor, with personal experience on life expectancy statistics, told me, "Never forget that you are a Statistic of One; no matter what the statistics say, the only statistic that matters is yours. We are all different and disease statistics depends on many factors." I put my life into the hands of my Medical Oncologist, our Creator, and the Power of Prayer - in my case all three of the monotheistic religions across the world; plus some others. No "woe is me" and I stayed away from all those who were negative whether they be friends, family, or internet support groups.

Now at age 70 with no PCa medication, I remain undetectable.

I'll say a Prayer for your dad.

Your Dad can do this! Keep kicking the bastard.

Gourd Dancer


More about Cancer Statistics and how they might pertain to your Dad:

When Will You Die? – Understanding Cancer Statistics at CancerABCs.org.



A lot depends on the cell type of the cancer that was causing the spinal cord compression.

Prostate cancer is a relatively slow grower compared to,e.g.,small cell lung cancer.

If it was the latter,3 months might be about right


Hello, my brother suffered a thoracic spinal cord compression, but was not operated on for 10 days afterwards. He has not and probably will not improve.

However, relating to your question, I have the same one. All of a sudden his prognosis is being discussed as weeks to live, and like you, I do not know why.

The next course of treatment for him is chemotherapy, but he has not decided whether or not to do it.

I am glad that your father's cord compression was caught in time. As bad as prostate cancer is, being paralyzed in addition makes it so much worse.

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