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Prostate cancer stages in simple non-medical terms

About Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer develops in the prostate. This cancer of male reproductive gland is usually growing very slow, but there are also some aggressive prostate cancers recorded.

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include pain and problems with urination or during the sexual intercourse. Erectile dysfunction is yet another possible symptom of the prostate cancer. From the prostate, cancer cells may spread to other organs and tissues in the body. This spread is known as metastasis and it is known to affect the bones and lymph nodes in people suffering from prostate cancer. This type of cancer may remain unnoticed and undiagnosed when people don’t have any apparent symptoms. These patients are often said to die of some other medical problem they have, rather than from prostate cancer.

Patients suffering from this type pf cancer are usually older men and most of them are older than 50 years of age.

Prostate cancer is usually treated with surgery, radiation and proton therapy. Depending on the specific case, doctors may recommend other types of treatments, such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and sometimes cryosurgery. High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is another option for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Stages of Prostate Cancer

Doctors have to determine the stage and growth rate of prostate cancer, in order to be able to find the best treatment option for the patient and his medical condition. They can do that by determining the spread of the prostate cancer to surrounding or some distant organs and tissues in the body.

Grading of the prostate cancer cells is based on their development and the stage of growth they are in. In many ways, prostate cancer cells are similar to normal body cells. Gleason system is method of grading used to determine similarities of prostate cancer and normal body cells. The grade vary from 1 to 5. Cancer cells graded as 1 are very similar to normal cells. Prostate cancer cells graded as 5, on the other hand are so much different than normal cells that there is a little resemblance anymore. For this test, doctors use cells from two different areas of the affected gland so the result can be anything from 2 to 10. High Gleason score shows that this particular cancer is of aggressive form.

Another system for the determination of the cancer spread is TNM system. It describes the cancer (T stands for tumor or cancer), the lymph nodes (that’s what N stands for) and also metastasis (M in TNM) of the cancer (spread to other tissues in the body). There are T1, T2, T3 and T4 stages of the prostate cancer. If the patient is determined to have prostate cancer in either T1 or T2 stage, doctors already know that this cancer is confined to prostate only. Stages T3 and T4 describe the prostate cancer which started to spread to other organs in the body.

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