How long has the cancer been there?

A lot of people want to know how long they have had their cancer for.  Maybe it is due to morbid curiosity.    Prostate cancer is no friend, and we want to know just how long that freeloader has been invading our body for.

The answer is probably for 5 years or longer.

By the time we discover a prostate cancer, it usually contains over 1 billion cancer cells.   Those cells divide pretty slowly, so it can take a while for the tumor to grow and become big enough to be noticed on a PSA blood test, or to be felt on a rectal exam, or to produce symptoms.

I don’t feel it is helpful to blame yourself or your doctor for not discovering the cancer earlier.  It’s discovered when it is time, not before.  Eventually these things become obvious.  When we look back retrospectively, we can often pick out clues that the problem was developing.  Maybe the PSA has been climbing gradually.  Maybe the urination has gotten a little worse.  Looking backwards is always much easier than looking forward to find clues like this, now that you know what you’re looking for.  Instead, focus on the current situation.

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