This is the second part of our mini-series about the condition based on our patient booklet “Fast Facts for Patient and Their Supporters: Metastatic Prostate Cancer”.
Staging is a way of recording how far your cancer has spread. Only advanced (late-stage) prostate cancer metastasizes. All prostate cancers are described or staged by the ‘TNM’ system and a Gleason grade and score.
- T – describes how far the Tumor has advanced, from T1 to T4.
- N – describes whether one or more lymph Nodes are affected by the cancer. N1 disease means that your lymph nodes contain cancer.
- M – describes evidence of Metastatic cancer outside the prostate. M1 disease means that your cancer has spread beyond the prostate.
Metastatic prostate cancer is staged as T3N1M1 or T4N1M1, or any higher N or M stage. You may not be told your T or N stage if your cancer has spread to your bones.
The Gleason score describes how aggressive your cancer is, in other words how quickly it will spread. A biopsy of your cancer cells will show different patterns under the microscope, which can be graded from 1 to 5.
There may be more than one grade of cancer in your biopsy samples. Your overall Gleason score is worked out by adding the most common grade seen in all your samples to the highest grade seen (e.g. 3+5).
The higher your Gleason score, the more aggressive your cancer, and the more likely it is to spread.
|Gleason score||What does it mean?|
|8, 9 or 10||Fast-growing cancer|
Please check out the first post of our mini-series here:
Information based on Metastatic Prostate Cancer (Karger, 2017).