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How does the staging system work to diagnose my prostate cancer?

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The TNM staging system:

  • T (Tumor): The extent of the primary tumor is determined by describing its size and location. If the tumor can’t be assessed, the stage is TX. If no tumor is found, the stage is T0. As the size and spread increase, so does the stage -- T1, T2, T3, or T4. In addition to the basic categories, doctors may use subcategories like T1a or T1b to add more description.
  • N (Nodes): This determines if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes near your bladder. If the nodes can’t be assessed, the stage is NX. If no nodes are affected, the stage is N0. If there is cancer in the nodes, a number is placed after the N (such as N1, N2, or N3) indicating the number, size and location of  nearby lymph nodes involved.
  • M (Metastasis): The cancer has either spread to the bones or other organs (M1) or hasn’t (M0). Doctors may also use subsets like M1a for distant lymph nodes or M1b for bones, or M1c for other sites.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: “How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?”

American Cancer Society: “How is Prostate Cancer Staged?”

American Society of Clinical Oncology: “Prostate Cancer: Stages and Grades.”

American Joint Committee on Cancer.

UpToDate: “Interpretation of prostate biopsy.”

UpToDate: “Initial staging and evaluation of men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer.”

American Cancer Society: “Understanding Your Pathology Report: Prostate Cancer.”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on March 18, 2018

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: “How is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?”

American Cancer Society: “How is Prostate Cancer Staged?”

American Society of Clinical Oncology: “Prostate Cancer: Stages and Grades.”

American Joint Committee on Cancer.

UpToDate: “Interpretation of prostate biopsy.”

UpToDate: “Initial staging and evaluation of men with newly diagnosed prostate cancer.”

American Cancer Society: “Understanding Your Pathology Report: Prostate Cancer.”

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin on March 18, 2018

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How can my doctor tell how advanced my prostate cancer is?

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