Prostate Cancer Diagnosis
Your diagnosis and staging are developed by the data collected from your behind-the-scenes cancer team. This team includes your clinician, lab technicians, and pathologists. Each bring with them data and information that gives personal insight into your diagnosis.
The pathologist report gives your clinician information about your tissue on a microscopic level to help them further diagnose and stage any cancer present.
Your clinician gathers all the information available to them from each test to help determine if you have cancer and what kind of cancer it is.
Once the cancer has been diagnosed, your clinician will stage it according to how far it has progressed, typically by using the TNM system*. Often times this can include additional testing to see if the cancer has spread.
- Tumor: How big is the tumor? Where is the tumor?
- Node: Has the tumor spread into the lymph nodes?
- Metastasis: Has the cancer spread to other parts of the body?
Prostate Cancer Staging
Stage 1 – grows slowly, the tumor cannot be felt, low PSA levels.
Stage 2 – tumor only found in the prostate, medium/low PSA levels, potential increased risk of the cancer growing and spreading
- 2a – cancer cells are well-differentiated, larger tumors but contained in the prostate
- 2b – medium PSA levels, the tumor may be large enough to feel during DRE, cancer cells are moderately differentiated
- 2c – medium PSA levels, the tumor may be large enough to feel during DRE, cancer cells are poorly differentiated.
Stage 3 – the tumor is growing, high PSA levels
- 3a – cancer has spread to tissue near the prostate
- 3b – the tumor has grown outside the prostate
- 3c – cancer cells are poorly differentiated throughout the tumor.
Stage 4 – the cancer has spread beyond the prostate
- 4a – cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the same area
- 4b – cancer has spread to other parts of the body
Recurrent – Prostate cancer that comes back after treatment