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Stages of prostate cancer  

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Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases known to human kind. Cancer can affect any part of the body, and its treatment is based on how much it has spread described as staging by the doctors. Prostate cancer affects the prostate glands in men. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system which is situated just below bladder and in front of the rectum. Prostate cancer is commonly seen among elder men, the prostate starts to grow bigger and blocks the bladder.

The main problem in this is that there are hardly any visible symptoms and most of the times the symptoms don’t relate to prostate cancer. The most commonly seen symptoms are blood in the urine or semen, pain or burning sensation while urinating, painful ejaculation are to name a few.      

The treatment of cancer is depended on the stages of cancer. Prostate cancer develops in the prostate gland and spreads to lymph nodes and the tissue through blood. Understanding the stages of prostate cancer can be challenging and difficult task.

There are various tests to identify the stages of prostate cancer. These tests are mainly done to know growth and spread of cancer cells. Depending on the results of biopsy various tests are recommended so as to determine the stage of cancer they are in. the main procedures that can be used to determine the stages of the disease are CT scan, seminal vesicle biopsy, MRI and more.

Doctors employ the TNM system and Gleason score to recognise the stages of prostate cancer. Most commonly they use TNM system. What is a TNM system?

T stands for Tumour; it describes how far the primary tumor has grown

N stands for Nodes; it describes whether the cancer has spread into the lymph nodes

M stands for Metastasis; it describes how far it has spread

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With these three points cancer stage will be defined. There are four stages in Prostate cancer through these stages the cancer cells grows and progresses from prostate gland to the outer tissue. This staging process determines the size of the tumor, where is it located and if there a chances of it spreading to other parts or organs. These factors will decide the type of treatment needed.


Stage 1
This is the first stage, in which the cancer cells or the tumor is found only in the prostate gland. In this stage prostate cancer cannot be seen on imaging or during the digital rectal exam. It can be revealed only during needle biopsy.

Stage 2
It is the little more advanced stage than the first. In this stage the cancer has not spread outside the prostate, cannot be seen in imaging or during the digital rectal exam. This stage 11 is again subdivided into 2 as stage 11A and stage 11B

Stage 3
In this stage the cancer has spread from the prostate outer layer to the nearby tissues like seminal tissues, 

Stage 4
In this stage the cancer will have spread to over the outer layer of prostate gland and affects the seminal tissues and also to other organs like rectum, pelvic wall or bladder. The prostate cancer is known to spread to bones in this stage.

Once the stages are identified, the treatments are initiated with no delay. Doctors claim that complete recovery is possible if the patient is in the initial stages. The chances of recovery mainly depends on three factors the stage of the cancer, the age of patient and his health and if there has been an instance of cancer recurring. There are advanced treatments available for treating prostate cancer. Treatments ranging from hormone therapy to surgery are available but the accurate determination of stage is required for deciding the effective treatment.

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: June 25, 2013

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