When you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is important that you understand the stages of prostate cancer to determine how far the disease has spread. The information on prostate cancer stages is important to help doctors decide the most appropriate treatment for your condition.
You should be aware that one treatment is generally better for handling a particular stage than another. The purpose of prostate cancer stages is to know whether the lymph nodes have already been affected by the tumor and whether the tumor has spread beyond the prostate gland.
How to Determine Prostate Cancer Stages
The stages of prostate cancer may be called A, B, C, D or 1, 2, 3, 4, depending on the country or area the patient is being treated (with A being Stage 1). Each of these four prostate cancer stages has sub-stages and a treatment to complement it.
Stage A (Stage 1) describes the cancer, which has been found through a biopsy or an elevated PSA levels. During this stage, the cancer is still very small and is located completely inside the area of the prostate gland. This prostate cancer stage is generally curable.
Stage B (Stage 2) describes the cancer that is still located inside the patient’s prostate gland. However, it is now felt or seen as a larger bump or lump during a rectal examination. Generally, this prostate cancer stage is determined by different tests, such as bone scan, MRI or CT scan and rectal test. Most Stage B prostate cancers are curable.
Stage C (Stage 3) describes a cancer that has spread beyond the covering of the prostate, which may have grown into “seminal vesicles” and spread on the patient’s tissues and local organs. This prostate cancer stage can be determined by performing sonography, MRI or CT scan, digital rectal exam, bone scan and protascint scan. However, only a few cases of stage C cancers can be cured.
Stage D (Stage 4) describes a cancer that has already grown and spread into the rectum, pelvic wall, neck of the bladder, lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs and other parts of the body. This prostate cancer stage is usually determined by a protascint scan, bone scan and a combination of other studies. While stage 4 cancer is not curable, it could be treated using a variety of therapies and surgery.
Determining the stage of prostate cancer is important to perform tests, evaluate the disease and plan treatment options specifically based on a person’s condition.