The 4 Stages of Prostate Cancer

Just like most types of malignant tumor, there are also stages of prostate cancer to describe how developed the tumor is and how far it has spread. Proper staging is needed for developing a prognosis. Stages are also useful in choosing the appropriate prostate cancer treatment options.

Do you have a certain query about this type of tumor? Click here to ask at Prostate Cancer Questions and Answers.

What to expect in the 4 stages?

Staging is very important because the doctor can determine if the tumor is still localized. The cancerous growth during the first 2 stages of prostate cancer is still enclosed in the gland. It doesn't show warning signs and symptoms of prostate cancer.

The 4 stages are actually divided into 2: Early and Advanced stages. Stages 1 and 2 are considered early while stages 3 and 4 are advanced or late stages.

There are usually no signs or symptoms for early stage tumor. You can expect metastasis and worsening of symptoms at the final stages.

Stage I

In this stage, the tumor...

  • is confined in the gland

  • its size is microscopic

  • can’t be felt even during a digital rectal exam (DRE) and

  • can't be seen on ultrasound or sonogram imaging of the gland.
The tumor is often discovered when a man is treated surgically for benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH, a noncancerous enlargement of the gland.

The tumor can also be discovered through a prostate-specific antigen or PSA test and a subsequent biopsy. If PSA is abnormally high in your blood, cancerous cells will be suspected. Further test such as DRE is needed because PSA level can go up due to other medical conditions such as an infection in your urinary tract.

Surgery is usually the first recommended form of treatment at the early stage. Robotic prostate surgery is the latest form of treatment right now.

Proton radiation therapy is also one of the new treatments for prostate cancer.

Stage II

In stage 2, the tumor...

  • is more advanced and has grown bigger inside the gland

  • is still confined inside the gland

  • its growth doesn't extend beyond the gland yet

  • can now be felt during a DRE and is visible on ultrasound or sonogram imaging.

Stage 2 is further divided into 2a and 2b. Stage 2a is when only 1 part of the gland is affected while Stage 2b is when both parts of the gland have cancerous cells.

Stage III

Stage 3 has 2 stages: 3a and 3b. In stage 3a, the tumor has moved outside the gland while in stage 3b, it has spread only to the adjacent tissues like the seminal vesicles.

Stage IV

At end stage, the tumor in your prostate ...

  • has spread further to affect tissues and organs near the gland like the bladder and the rectum

  • has invaded the lymph nodes, bones, liver, or lungs.

The cancerous growth has already metastasized for both stages 3 and 4. But the difference between these advanced prostate cancer stages is the extent of the metastasis.

What would you like to read next?

What Causes Prostate Tumor

How to Prevent Prostate Cancer in Men

Return from Stages of Prostate Cancer to Prostate Facts

Return from 4 Stages of Prostate Cancer to Prevention

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