In order for a doctor to determine prostate
cancer staging, a number of tests (bone scan, CT or CAT scan, MRI, or a ProstaScint™ scan) may be ordered to see if
the cancer looks like it is:
Prostate cancer staging (also called the clinical stage) is based on the results of all of a man's tests, physical exams, and biopsy.
Based upon these tests, the doctor is really providing an estimate of the extent of the prostate cancer.
If a man has surgery, a pathological stage can usually be more accurately determined based on the gland and tissue that is removed. That is the reason why a man's Gleason score may be higher after surgery.
The TNM staging system
The TNM staging system is the most commonly used system for determining prostate cancer stages.
With the TNM system:
Below is a simple table that lists all the categories and tells you more about what each one means.
Prostate cancer staging tableT categories
|T1: The tumor cannot be felt (is not palpable) during a digital rectal exam or be seen with imaging tests.|
|T1a: Tumor was discovered unintentionally (called incidentally) in tissue removed for other reasons and 5% or less of the tissue removed is cancerous.|
|T1b: Tumor was discovered incidentally and more than 5% of the tissue removed is cancerous.|
|T1c: Tumor was found by a needle biopsy that was performed because of a high PSA.|
|T2: Tumor appears to be only inside the prostate gland.|
|T2a: There is cancer in one half (or less) of just one side of the prostate (called one lobe).|
|T2b: There is cancer in more than half of only one side of the prostate.|
|T2c: There is cancer in both sides of the prostate.|
|T3: Cancer extends outside of the prostate and may involve the seminal vesicles.|
|T3a: Cancer has grown beyond the wall of the prostate (called extracapsular extension) on one or both sides but not to the seminal vesicles.|
|T3b: Cancer has invaded the seminal vesicles.|
|T4: Cancer has invaded other areas (other than the seminal vesicles) near the prostate, such as the bladder, rectum, and/or the pelvis wall.|
|NX: Nearby lymph nodes were not assessed.|
|N0: Cancer has not spread to any lymph nodes.|
|N1: Cancer has spread to one or more nearby lymph nodes in the pelvis (called regional lymph nodes).|
|M0: Cancer has not spread beyond the regional lymph nodes.|
|M1: Cancer has spread beyond the regional lymph nodes.|
|M1a: Cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes (outside of the pelvis).|
|M1b: Cancer has spread to the bones.|
|M1c: Cancer has spread to other organs, such as the lungs, the liver, or the brain (and may or may not be in the bones).|
The American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 17, 2015.
American Urological Association. The Management of Localized Prostate
Cancer. http://www.auanet.org. Accessed September 1, 2008.
Walsh PC. Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer. New York, NY: Time Warner Book Group; 2001.
Always consult a medical professional.