Almost two million cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S. according to the American Cancer Society. If you are one of them, it’s important for your doctor to determine whether your cancer has spread, and if so, to what degree. This is what is known as staging.
The stage of yourhelps determine the seriousness of your cancer and how it can be best treated. This is done through testing that includes your blood PSA (prostate-specific antigen) level and biopsy results.
The staging system for prostate cancer that is widely used by physicians is the AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) TNM system, which is based on the following information about a man’s prostate tumor:
· T category (Tumor): The extent of the primary tumor
· N category (Nodes): Whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes
· M category (Metastasis): Whether the cancer has metastasized (spread) to any other organs or tissues
· Your PSA blood level at the time of diagnosis
· The Grade group based on the Gleason score (aggressiveness of the cancer per biopsy results or surgery)
Once this information is gathered, it is combined in a process known as stage grouping to determine the overall stage of the cancer and proper. Let’s talk about what those stages are and what to expect from each.
Prostate Cancer Stages
These stages range from Roman numeral I (1) through IV (4), which are also broken down into various groupings. Below is an overview of each of the four stages:
· Your doctor may or may not be able to feel the tumor by digital rectal exam or see it with an imaging test. It may be diagnosed by needle biopsy results showing a high PSA level.
· The prostate has been removed with surgery (radical prostatectomy), and the tumor was determined to be confined to the prostate.
· The cancer has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body.
· Your PSA level is less than 10.
· IIA – Your doctor may or may not be able to feel the tumor by digital rectal exam or seen with imaging. The prostate may have been removed with surgery, and the tumor is still only in the prostate; it has not metastasized to nearby lymph nodes. Your PSA level is at least 10 but less than 20, and the Grade group is 1.
· IIB – Same as stage IIA, but the Grade group is 2.
· IIC – Same as stage IIA, but the Grade group is 3 or 4.
· IIIA – The prostate cancer has not spread outside the prostate. Your PSA level is at least 20, and the Grade group is 1 to 4.
· IIIB – The cancer cells have spread to organs or tissues near the prostate, but not to nearby lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. The PSA can be any value, and the Grade group is 1 to 4.
· IIIC – The cancer might or might not be growing outside the prostate, but it has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or elsewhere in the body. Your PSA level can be any value, and the Grade group is 5.
· IVA – The cancer cells might or might not be spreading to tissues near the prostate, but the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. It has not spread elsewhere in the body. The PSA and Grade group can be any value.
· IVB – The cancer cells might or might not be spreading to tissues near the prostate, and might or might not have spread to nearby lymph nodes. Cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body, such as distant lymph nodes, bones, or other organs. The PSA and Grade group can be any value.
Effective Treatment for Prostate Cancer at Any Stage
If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at any stage, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy. Traditional radiation, however, can be an ordeal in terms of many treatment sessions, unpleasant side effects, and potential damage to surrounding tissues and organs.
Fortunately, there is an effective alternative.
CyberKnife® technology, also known as The Beam of Life, is a safe, noninvasive type of radiotherapy that – unlike traditional radiation therapy – precisely targets and destroys prostate cancer cells without harming nearby tissues or organs. Utilizing a robotic arm,delivers high doses of radiation to the tumor with pinpoint accuracy that automatically adjusts to even the slightest body movement.
What’s more, the CyberKnife procedure is far more comfortable and convenient than standard radiation therapy. It only requires as few as five sessions – compared to dozens required with conventional radiation therapy – which last no more than an hour each, with no downtime once they’re completed. In fact, you can resume your normal activities immediately after your treatments. Plus, there are few if any minor side effects.
For more information about this remarkable alternative to traditional radiation therapy, call our team at the
today at (305) 279-2900 and schedule a private consultation. Or use our convenient online