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 http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate, you can find pictures and more information about the stages of prostate cancer.
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.
The tumor is more advanced or a higher grade than Stage I, but the tumor doesn’t extend beyond the prostate.
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.