Symptoms of the Four Prostate Cancer Stages
You may be concerned that you or someone you know is experiencing some symptoms that hint at prostate cancer, or know anyone who already has prostate cancer. If so, reading up on the prostate cancer stages and the kinds of treatment dispensed to the patients in those stages is crucial to a better understanding of the disease.
The four prostate cancer stages are sometimes referred to as A-D, with D being the most serious. This method of labeling is called the Jewett-Whitmore Staging System, which used to be the most commonly used in North American clinics and hospitals. In this system, degrees of severity between stages are cited in numbers, as in A1, B2, C2, etc. However, a more definitive method of labeling the four prostate cancer stages - called the TNM (tumor, node, metastases) system - is now more widely used. For the sake of restricting ourselves to the fundamentals, however, we shall only discuss the four main stages according to the Jewett-Whitmore System.
A. The cancer is confined to the prostate area, and is too small to be detectible by anything except a biopsy and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test. At this stage the cancer is still generally curable, especially if it has a low Gleason grade.
B. The cancer can be felt as a hard lump during a standard rectal exam. At times a bone scan or CT/MRI scan is needed to better see it, but it already has a higher Gleason grade than Stage A.
C. The cancer has already spread beyond the prostate area, and has affected other tissues. Sonography, a digital rectal exam, or CT/ MRI scans may be required to pinpoint exactly which other tissues have been affected. At this stage, some instances of cancer are still curable.
D. The cancer has already spread to the lymph nodes and bones. At this phase, the cancer is at its most aggressive. It is no longer curable, but still treatable.
It is important to remember that not all genital disorders may mean cancer, but common problems like benign enlargement of the prostate (BEP) is still best detected and treated early. This is done to avoid further discomfort and possible health threats, as BEP could still escalate into more serious problems. Some less threatening prostate-related ailments may share symptoms with prostate cancer, so instead of guessing, it is best to see your doctor immediately upon experiencing these symptoms.