Staging of Prostate Cancer

When prostate cancer is first diagnosed, doctors will find out how much cancer is present and if it has spread. This process is called staging, and it lays the foundation for a customized treatment plan with the most chance of success.

What is staging of prostate cancer?

When prostate cancer is diagnosed, tests will be performed to determine how much cancer is present, and if the cancer has spread from the prostate to other parts of the body. This is called staging, and is an important step toward planning a treatment program.

What are the different stages of prostate cancer?

As defined by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the stages of prostate cancer include the following:

Stage I
  • tumor cells are found in less than 5 percent of prostate tissue removed, and the cells are not very aggressive in nature
  • sometimes referred to as stage A
Stage II
  • tumor cells are found in less than 5 percent of prostate tissue removed, and the cells are more aggressive in nature or
  • the tumor is larger in size, but is confined to the prostate gland
  • sometimes referred to as Stage B
Stage III
  • the tumor has grown through the capsule which surrounds the prostate gland, and may involve seminal vesicles (tubes that carry sperm)
  • sometimes referred to as Stage C
Stage IV
  • the tumor has spread to other structures beyond the seminal vesicles to any other organ or structure
  • sometimes referred to as Stage D1 or D2
  • the cancer has come back (recurred) after treatment; it may recur in the prostate or in another part of the body
  • sometimes referred to as Stage D3

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