Prostate Cancer Stages

Written by Amy Hall
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There are various prostate cancer stages that measure how advanced the cancer has become. When you go in for testing, the digital rectal exam and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) measurement will only be able to tell if your prostate has enlarged or if there is a growth. These tests cannot distinguish between a benign growth and a malignant growth, which means that further testing is necessary.

If cancer is found, the doctor will be able to determine the extent of the cancer through biopsies, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic tools. Stage I prostate cancer is cancer that confined to the prostate gland only, and it cannot be felt during a digital rectal exam. There are no symptoms at this point, and it is not visible during imaging tests. The PSA test probably confirmed that there were elevated levels of this enzyme in the blood, prompting further testing.

Stage II prostate cancer is usually detected through a needle biopsy that is done when the PSA measurement comes back elevated. In some cases, cancer can be felt in the prostate gland during the digital rectal exam. Stage III prostate cancer involves tissues surrounding the prostate gland, but not the lymph nodes. In some cases, the seminal vesicles may have cancer cells found in them as well.

Understanding the Stages of Prostate Cancer

Stage IV prostate cancer involves the prostate gland, the surrounding tissues, the lymph nodes, and possibly other organs such as the bones, liver, or lungs. Stage IV prostate cancer is much more serious, and a combination of therapies must be used to try and destroy the cancer. In most cases, the removal of the prostate gland and the testicles is necessary, and a combination of radiation and chemotherapy is used to destroy cancer cells that have spread.

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