Types of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer, the second most common cancer diagnosed in men in the United States, affects one in nine males. This slow-growing cancer is found in the prostate, the small, chestnut-sized organ surrounding the bladder neck and urethra. Though men younger than age 40 are rarely diagnosed, all men need to know and watch for the warning signs of prostate cancer. Here’s what you need to know.

Man and doctor discussing prostate cancer diagnosis


Adenocarcinoma, by far the most common type of prostate cancers, represents more than 99 percent of cases. Adenocarcinomas are classified in one of two ways. Acinar adenocarcinoma refers to when cancerous tumors develop in the prostate gland and don’t spread any further. Ductal adenocarcinoma affects the tubes, or ducts, of the prostate gland and spreads more quickly. Either way, men who are diagnosed with adenocarcinomas typically experience:

  • Blood in the semen, seminal fluid or urine
  • Painful ejaculation and/or sudden development of erectile dysfunction
  • Discomfort or soreness when sitting because the prostate is enlarged
  • Frequent urination that may be painful or present a burning sensation, especially at night


Accounting for just 0.7 percent of all prostate cancer diagnoses, sarcoma originates in the prostate’s mesenchymal cells, or smooth muscle cells. Though extremely rare, there are several types of sarcomas that range from noninvasive to aggressive in nature. These include:

  • Leiomyosarcoma, which is typically aggressive and can spread to other areas of the body
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is rare but aggressive and mostly found in children
  • Other types of prostate cancer sarcomas, such as hemangiomas, chondromas and STUMP (stromal proliferations of uncertain malignant potential)

Small-Cell Carcinoma

One of the rarest but most aggressive types of prostate cancer is small-cell carcinoma, also known as carcinosarcoma or sarcomatoid carcinoma. It is a type of neuroendocrine cancer in which the prostate cancer is made up of small cells. Small-cell carcinoma sometimes arises on its own or is found alongside an acinar adenocarcinoma. In roughly half of reported cases, patients had experienced prior hormonal therapies or have a history of acinar adenocarcinoma. Symptoms include those found in adenocarcinomas, as well as:

  • Obstruction of the urinary tract
  • Dysuria (painful or difficult urination)
  • Nocturia (frequent or excessive urination at night)

Transitional-Cell Carcinomas

Another one of the rarest types of prostate cancer, transitional cell carcinoma of the prostate (TCC-P), typically begins in the bladder and spreads into the prostate through the ducts that deliver urine to the urethra. However, it also can form in the prostate and spread into nearby tissues and organs.

Neuroendocrine Tumors

Technically called treatment-emergent small-cell neuroendocrine prostate cancer (t-SCNC), this subtype affects almost one-fifth of men who have been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer. This develops as a result of prostate cancer tumors resistant to hormone therapy. Though rare, it is considered to be more deadly than other prostate cancer subtypes.

Treatment Options at RCCA

No matter which type of prostate cancer you or a loved one has been diagnosed with, Regional Cancer Care Associates is there to fight the battle with you. Our team of experts will determine the best combination of the most advanced treatments and methods, which can include chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy or surgery, to help you achieve the best possible outcome. For more information or to find an RCCA location near you, contact us today at 844-346-7222.