Staging of prostate cancer means determining how advanced is the cancer or how far the cancer has grown. The more advanced the cancer, the higher the stage. The following is a simplified table of prostate cancer staging:
Cancer that cannot be felt during a rectal exam. It is usually discovered by biopsy or when surgery is done for a benign prostatic process. The cancer is confined to the prostate and occupies a small amount of the prostate.
The cancer is more advanced, but still confined to the prostate.
The cancer is beyond the outer covering or capsule of the prostate, possibly in the seminal vesicles.
The cancer has spread (metastasized) to other organs:
- Invading into bladder, rectum and/or pelvic wall
- Spread to lymph nodes
- Spread to other distant body parts such as bones, liver, brain
A more detailed form of staging is TNM prostate cancer staging. The TNM staging system describes the extent of the primary tumor (T), the absence or presence of metastasis to nearby lymph nodes (N) and the absence or presence of distant metastasis (M).