What are the stages of prostate cancer? Of all cancers, prostate cancer is the most prevalent and second leading cause of death in the Americas. It affects over 10 million.
Current measurements of disease progression have involve identification of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA).
Research has found that PSA has limited specificity and sensitivity in appropriately detecting early stages of abnormal prostate growth. PSA levels fail to differentiate between slowly progressing and aggressive cancers.
PSA also increases with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, and other non-malignancies. This means a potential for inaccurate diagnosis based on PSA alone.
Once cancer is present, prognosis is dependent on the extent of the spread of the cancer. How far the cancer has spread is the basis for classification.
Stage I Prostate Cancer
Cancer is only in the prostate with no evidence of having spread. It cannot be felt on a digital rectal exam, and it is not seen on imaging of the prostate. It is further classified as...
T1a - The cancerous tumor is found in a biopsy of the prostate. It involves less than 5 percent of the prostate sample.
T1b -The tumor is found in a prostate biopsy and involves more than 5 percent of the prostate sample.
T1c -The tumor is found by needle biopsy or as a result of a high blood level of PSA.
The cancer tumor has grown within the prostate but has not gone any farther.
T2a - The tumor is found in only half of one of the lobes of the prostate gland
T2b - The tumor is found in more than half of one of the lobes
T2c - The tumor is found both lobes but is still limited to the prostate gland.
The cancer has spread beyond the capsule covering of the prostate gland, but only barely. Nearby tissues may be involved such as the seminal vesicles.
The cancer will have spread or metastasized outside the prostate to other tissues such as lymph nodes, rectum, bladder, bones, liver, lungs.
Other Stages of Prostate Cancer
There are other stages of prostate cancer used. Here is an overview.
One method looks at the lymph nodes. The human body has two circulatory systems. One is the blood and the other the lymph system. The lymph is only a one way circulation, from the cells back to the blood. It is pumped by muscle contraction as we move.
In relation to stages of prostate cancer, if the lymph nodes are positive (if they contain cancer cells), then an additional staging of the lymph is included. The more cancer cells inside the lymph node, the larger it will be. Their size determines the stage.
N0 - lymph nodes will have no cancer cells
N1- only one lymph node involved and less than 2cm across
N2 - a second lymph node having cancer or the size larger than 2 and up to 5cm across
N3 - any lymph node enlarged to greater than 5 cm across.
M0 - No cancer involvement outside the pelvis
M1 - the cancer will have spread beyond the pelvis.
Cancer can grow inside the prostate for many years with out detection. In time, it will extend beyond the prostate. This can happen as a result of invasion of neighboring tissues, spreading through the lymph circulatory system and traveling through the blood (metastatic cancer).
The TNM system stands refers to tumor, nodes, and metastasis:
T is the size of the area of prostate cancer involvement.
N is for the involvement of lymph nodes and to what extent.
M stands for the spread of the cancer such as to the bladder, bones or liver.
The Gleason system (named after the doctor who originate it) assigns a grade to the actual prostate cancer tumor. The grading is a way of defining how aggressive the cancer is as seen by a microscope.
The grading is between the numbers 1-5.
The least aggressive is grade one, the most aggressive is stage 5. When two or more cell patterns are observed, the grades of the most common are added together to form a score from 2 to 10.
This scoring does not tell the entire picture of your prognosis. Some with high scores have done well and some with low scores have done poorly. A number of other factors will determine where you fall.
Remember that the cancer could have been growing for years. Some cells grow fast and some grow slow. This is called the ploidy status.
Additional clues to the prognosis can be determined by the...
These tables use the PSA, stage, grade and surgical findings of over 4,000 men. The tables help predict the probability of prostate cancer spread to the lymph nodes, seminal vesicles, penetrated the capsule (got outside the prostate) or remains confined to the prostate.
This is an overview of the various Stages of Prostate Cancer. Remember, prostate cancer is a very unique disease affecting everyone differently. To help your doctor in his ability to heal you, consider all the evidence based dietary and supplemental resources available.
Also consider that there are alternative treatments that are just as effective as allopathic medicine.
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