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Prostate Cancer Stages

Prostate cancer stages are used to indicate how advanced a patient’s cancer is and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. Staging is taken into consideration when developing a patient’s treatment plan, and it is also used to help estimate the prognosis.

Prostate Cancer Stages
Prostate cancer stages are based on the tumor size, Gleason score and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level.

The most commonly used method for staging prostate cancer is the AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) TNM system. "TNM" stands for "tumor," "nodes" and "metastasis," which are among the factors used to determine the cancer's stage. The size of the primary tumor (T), whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes (N) and whether the cancer has metastasized (M) to other areas of the body are the main factors considered when staging the cancer, along with the patient’s Gleason score (a number used to “grade” a cancer based on how it looks under a microscope) and the patient’s prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level.

The stages are broken down as follows:

  • Stage 1 prostate cancer is limited to the prostate gland. The patient’s Gleason score is six or lower, and their PSA level is nine or lower.
  • Stage 2 prostate cancer is still limited to the prostate gland, but the patient’s Gleason score is a seven or higher and their PSA level is 10 or higher.
  • Stage 3 prostate cancer has spread beyond the outer layer of the prostate (for instance, it may have spread to the seminal vesicles). The patient’s PSA can be any level, and the Gleason score can be anywhere between two and 10.
  • Stage 4 prostate cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, tissues or organs, or even distant parts of the body, such as the bones. Similar to stage 3, stage 4 prostate cancer can involve any PSA levels and Gleason scores that range between two and 10.

When a patient turns to Moffitt Cancer Center for diagnosis or treatment, we provide them with an individualized treatment plan that a multispecialty team of experts carefully assembles based on a comprehensive range of factors. We understand that prostate cancer stages are just a small part of the big picture; our oncologists evaluate everything from the stage and cellular makeup of the cancer to the patient’s overall health and personal preferences, and then tailor a treatment plan to fit the patient’s unique situation.

No referral is required to come to Moffitt. You can request an appointment online or call 1-888-663-3488, and we’ll set up a time for you to meet with one of our oncologists specializing in prostate cancer.