Prostate Cancer Stages In Non-Medical Terms

Once you get a diagnosis of prostate cancer, it’s imperative that you find out what stage and its rate of growth is so that you can undergo the right treatment from the get-go. You and your doctor must learn how far, if at all, your cancer has spread outside the prostate gland along with how it is growing.

How Prostate Cells Are Graded

Prostate cells are not much different than other cells in the body. Both cancer and normal cell types will go through varying growth stages. There are several tests and grading systems that doctors can utilize to find out and classify the growth stage your prostate cancer cells are at.

One such popular grading method is called the Gleason system. What it does is compare the cells side by side. Cancer cells are then given a score based on their appearance to normal cells. The grading runs on a scale of one to five with one representing a cell that’s closely resembles the normal cell; five, on the other hand, is the type of cell that does not look like a normal cell.

The bad part about cancer cells when they are in different regions of the prostate is that they can be in different developmental stages. Thus, to get the overall Gleason score, it’ll need to be taken in two areas that are most affected by the cancer and then the two scores are added together.  The overall score can fall between two and 10. As the score goes higher, it means the prostate cancer is an aggressive type of the disease.

The TNM system is used to find out how far beyond the prostate the cancer has spread. The system is a mixture of the tumor size, how affected the lymph nodes are and other related cancers showing up in places other than the prostate.

Your cancer, with the TNM system, will be classified into:

- T1

- T2

- T3

- T4

T1 and T2 will denote that the cancer has yet to spread beyond the prostate gland. T3 and T4 denote that the cancer has gone beyond the gland.

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