Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among men in the U.S. To diagnose prostate cancer, blood tests determine the patient’s PSA level. A digital rectal exam checks the prostate gland, and a biopsy of the prostate may also be needed.
For patients who have prostate cancer, doctors run tests to learn whether the cancer has spread. If the cancer has spread, the stage will reflect how much cancer is in the body. A stage helps determine the severity of the cancer and guides the treatment.
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer staging is based on:
- The extent of the main (primary) tumor
- Whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes
- Whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body
- PSA level
- The Grade Group, which is based on the biopsy and is a measure of how likely the cancer is to spread and grow quickly
Prostate cancer stages range from I (one) through IV (four). Lower numbers mean the cancer has not spread as much. Stages can be split further with assignment of a letter (A, B, C, etc.) in addition to the stage. Earlier letters also mean a lower stage.
Early diagnosis is crucial. At Stage I, the cancer is usually slow growing. The tumor may be detected through a digital rectal exam or on an ultrasound. Or the cancer was found when a biopsy was done following a high PSA blood level. The PSA level is less than 10. At Stage IV, the most advanced stage, the cancer might or might not have spread outside the prostate into nearby tissues. And the cancer may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes or other locations in the body. The PSA level can be any value. Our highly trained specialists provide personalized care for each patient at any stage.
For cancers that have not spread (stages I, II and III), prostate cancer can be divided into risk groups ranging from very low to very high. This can help determine the need for further testing and guide options for treatment.
Since most patients don’t have symptoms of prostate cancer in the early stages, regular exams are the best way to protect your health. When detected in its early stages, prostate cancer can be effectively treated and cured.
At Arkansas Urology, we’re here for you. Our patients’ health has been and will always be our top priority! Are you concerned about prostate cancer? Contact us today to schedule your appointment, or book your appointment online.