- April 21, 2019
- Comments Off on A Look at the Stages, Grades and Outcomes of Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer can be a scary thing, especially when facing the prognosis. A doctor bases his or her cancer prognosis on several different factors. These include a Gleason grade, the stage that the cancer is in, and your age. Read below for more information on these factors in determining a prognosis. One of the first methods doctors uses to determine a prostate cancer prognosis is the Gleason score. This score is taken after a biopsy is done and the cells are investigated under a microscope. The cells are graded on how normal or abnormal they appear. A 1 is the lowest grade and represents the most normal looking, healthy cells, while 5 is the highest grade or the most abnormal looking cells. Doctors do report these results differently, as some add the two grades together and report one score as others report each score separately. The Gleason grade is just one way to estimate a prostate cancer prognosis.
The Four Stages
In addition to the Gleason grade, another way to determine a prostate cancer prognosis is by concluding which stage the cancer is in. Doctors acknowledge four stages of prostate cancer and report these either as Stage 1-4, or as stages A-D. In stage 1, the cancer is so small that it is completely unfelt when a doctor does a rectal exam. In stage 2, the cancer is still contained within the gland of the prostate but can be felt as a lump when a rectal exam is completed. Stage 3 occurs when the cancer has moved from the prostate gland and has moved toward the seminal vesicles. The fourth stage is the most serious, in which the cancer has spread to other parts of the body such as the rectum, the pelvic wall, and the bladder.
What Affect Your Age Has
Age affects prostate cancer and prognosis in two main ways: it is both a risk factor as well as something that the doctor takes into consideration as a part of a prostate cancer prognosis. In regards to risk, age is the greatest risk factor a man has in the likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Men over 50 have a much greater risk of developing prostate cancer than those who are under fifty.
In addition to being a risk factor, age also is an important part of determining prostate cancer prognosis and treatment. Depending on your age, you may or may not be facing active treatment. If you are older, the cancer may be growing at rate so slow that it may not need treatment. Your doctor will help you determine which option is most appropriate for your age.