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Prostate Cancer

  • Posted: 09/26/2012

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Doctors describe the stages of prostate cancer using the Roman numerals I, II, III, and IV. A cancer that is Stage I is early-stage cancer, and a cancer that is Stage IV is advanced cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.

The stage of prostate cancer depends mainly on…

  • Whether the tumor has invaded nearby tissue, such as the bladder or rectum
  • Whether prostate cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body, such as the bones
  • Grade (Gleason score) of the prostate tumor
  • PSA level

On NCI’s website at, you can find pictures and more information about the stages of prostate cancer.

Stage I

The cancer is only in the prostate. It might be too small to feel during a digital rectal exam. If the Gleason score and PSA level are known, the Gleason score is 6 or less, and the PSA level is under 10.

Stage II

The tumor is more advanced or a higher grade than Stage I, but the tumor doesn’t extend beyond the prostate.

Stage III

The tumor extends beyond the prostate. The tumor may have invaded a seminal vesicle, but cancer cells haven’t spread to lymph nodes. See the picture of a seminal vesicle.

Stage IV

The tumor may have invaded the bladder, rectum, or nearby structures (beyond the seminal vesicles). It may have spread to lymph nodes, bones, or other parts of the body.

This text may be reproduced or reused freely. Please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source. Any graphics may be owned by the artist or publisher who created them, and permission may be needed for their reuse.