Understanding The Prostate Cancer Stages: What Do They Mean?

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The prostate cancer stages help doctors to determine how far cancer has spread and how best to treat it. Prostate cancer staging is a complex process that involves multiple tests, including Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and prostate biopsy results. Through prostate cancer staging, the size, extent of spread, and the aggressiveness of the cancer are determined.

The prostate cancer stages also help determine the survival rate. If cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of your body, early treatment can improve your survival rate.

Understanding the Prostate Cancer Stages

Prostate cancer is categorized into 4 stages. The PSA level at the time of diagnosis and the Gleason score  (a measure of how likely cancer can grow and spread quickly) determines the Grade Group of cancer. The Grade Group is from 1 to 5. The lower the Group Grade, the more normal the cells appear, and the least aggressive is cancer.

Stage 1: Prostate cancer is limited to the prostate, affecting a small part.

In stage 1, the PSA levels are below 10 and the Grade Group is 1.

 

Stage 2: Prostate cancer affects more of the prostate.

This stage has three sub-stages:

Stage 2A · Cancer has affected more than half of only one lobe of the prostate

· Grade Group is 1

· PSA level is 10 or more but under 20

Stage 2B · Cancer is in one or both lobes of the prostate.

· Grade Group is 2

· PSA level is less than 20

Stage 2C · Cancer is in one or both lobes of the prostate

· Grade Group is 3 or 4

· PSA level is less than 20

· Cancer cells appear more abnormal than in stage 2B.

 

Stage 3: Prostate cancer spreads to the outer layer of the prostate

This stage has three sub-stages.

Stage 3A · Cancer is still in the prostate, affecting both sides or only one side of the prostate

· Grade Group can fall in 1,2, 3 or 4

· PSA level is under 20

Stage 3B · Cancer has advanced and spread to the seminal vesicles.

· Cancer may have spread to the surrounding organs or tissues

· PSA is any level

· Grade Group can fall in 1, 2, 3 or 4

Stage 3C · Cancer is in one or both sides of your prostate

· Cancer has spread to nearby organs, including bladder and rectum

· PSA is any level

· Grade Group is 5

 

Stage 4: The cancer is most advanced and has spread through lymph nodes, blood, and other organs.

This stage has two sub-stages.

Stage 4A · Cancer is on one or both sides of your prostate

· Cancer has spread to nearby organs, including lymph nodes

· PSA can be any level

· Grade Group can be from 1 to 5

Stage 4B · Cancer has spread to other parts of your body

· Cancer has spread to distant sites such as lymph nodes or bones

 

When prostate cancer is caught early, it has a higher survival rate. Therefore, regular screening for prostate cancer is critical.