Prostate cancer is staged using the TNM system, established by the American Joint Committee on Cancer. The system uses five factors to stage prostate cancer:
1. The size of the tumor or “T”
2. The presence of cancer in nearby lymph nodes or “N”
3. Whether the cancer has metastasized “M”
4. The PSA level at diagnosis
5. Gleason score based on a biopsy or surgery.
Doctors combine TNM levels, Gleason scores and PSA levels to determine a stage of cancer between 1 and 4. Stage 1 means the cancer is only found in the prostate and is not advanced. In Stage 2, cancer is found only in the prostate but is more advanced than Stage 1. Stage 3 cancer has spread into nearby tissues, and Stage 4 means the cancer has metastasized, or spread to organs other than the prostate.
Prostate cancer can also be categorized as “high risk,” “intermediate risk” or “low risk.” To learn about these groupings, visit the Prostate Cancer Research Institute.
To learn more about prostate cancer staging, visit the American Cancer Society’s website and talk to your doctor.
This post is part of a series dedicated to addressing one of the most important health issues facing men today. Check our blog for additional information about prostate cancer and the unique benefits of CyberKnife® treatment.