Understanding the Jewett- Whitmore Classification System of Prostate Cancer

May 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer Stages

Prostate cancer may slowly at the early stages and becomes more aggressive as it moves to the advanced stages. When diagnosing this condition, the doctor may carryout a series tests on the man.

The PSA test, Digital Rectal Exam and tissue biopsy could be carried out. Biopsy is applied when the cells or tissues of the prostate gland are taken out and examined under a microscope.

The objectives of carrying out biopsy by the pathologist are to determine the extension, character and form of the tumor that has started developing in the prostate. To achieve these, a classification system can be applied. Two common classification systems for tumors originating from prostate are the:

1 – TNM (Tumors, Nodes, and Metastasis) classification

2 – Jewett-Whitmore System.

This article is going to share some basic information about the Jewett-Whitmore System.

The Jewett-Whitmore is a classification system to stage prostate cancer. With this system, the tumor is classified as Stage A, B, C, or D. The A and B stages are used to describe tumors that have are still localized and with encouraging prognosis. C and D Stages do not have good prognosis. More so, each alphabetical description can be attached with a number to further describe the stage of the prostate. Here are more details on the stages of prostate cancer.

Stage A – At this stage, the cancer cells may look like normal cells of the prostate. The man whose prostate tumor is in this stage may not have symptoms. The Stage A is a localized stage, meaning that the tumor is still confined to the tissues of the prostate. Numbers like A1 or A2 can be used to describe different abnormality of the Stage A prostate Cancer.

Stage B – This stage of the tumor is still confined within the prostate but the cells are now palpable. This means that the prostate can now be felt or touched. It can result to high levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), a protein secreted by the prostate gland. With PSA test and Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) the cancerous cells are detected. In addition, B0,B1, and B2 means  that the stage has high PSA level(not detectable), has  single tumor nodule, and metastasis occurs in either or both lobes of the prostate respectively.

Stage C – In this stage, the prostate has spread outside the prostate. The surrounding cells or tissues or seminal vesicles could be affected. C1 means that the tumor has spread outside of the prostate capsule, and C2 means that the tumor has could be blocking the bladder or urethra.

Stage D – This is the most advanced stage of prostate cancer. The diffusion (metastasis) of the prostate cancer to other vital organs in the body can be seen. The lymph glands, the bones, the liver, the lungs, etc can be affected by the diffusion of the cancerous cells. D0 could mean that the tumor has high levels of PSA but still localized, D1 may mean that the lymph nodes or glands have been affected, in D2 the tumor may affect distant tissues and organs starting from lymph gland. D3 may mean that the tumor has metastasized to affect organs like the lungs, livers, brain, etc.

These are details about the Jewett-Whitmore classification of prostate cancer. You can talk to a pathologist or your prostate cancer doctor for more information on this staging system.

How the Various Stages of Prostate Cancer Are Treated

May 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer Stages

Cancer cells that form on the prostate gland grow slowly and can easily affect other parts of the body. For this reason, doctors ensure they discover the stages the growth is so that the right treatment can be provided for the patient.

Staging or grading for this type of cancer that affects only men is carried out through a system known as the Gleason Grading System. Through this system, various different patterns of the cancer cells taken after biopsy are investigated and scores are provided for each group.

That being said, there are about four stages of prostate cancer. Each of these stages has its peculiar features, and there are effective treatments suitable for each stage. The four stages of prostate cancer that can be diagnosed in a man are: Stage I, Stage II, Stage III, and Stage IV.

These stages determine treatments as they already embody the size, location, spread and aggressiveness of the cancer. what each stage looks like and the common treatments doctors prescribe for victims are described in the following paragraphs.

Treating Stage I Prostate Cancer – When cancer cells form in the prostate gland at this stage, the cells may still appear like normal prostate cells. The cancers are slow growing and most often do not show any significant symptoms that can be used to recognize it. Since cancerous cells in this stage are still localized and less aggressive, the following treatments can be applied to get rid of them completely: Radiation therapy, radical prostatectomy, and watchful waiting.

Treating Stage II Prostate Cancer – This stage would still have the cancers localized (that is, still forming within prostate cells). However, there could be slight change in their patterns or structure and certain symptoms may start to affect the person. Likewise, if treatments had already been applied on stage I cells and some affected cells still survive, then these are considered stage II. Similar treatment options as in stage I can still be applied to treat stage II but more precisely: Radical prostatectomy( to remove the prostate gland and pelvic lymph nodes), Brachytherapy and external beam radiation, Cryosurgery, or a combination of these treatments can work to deal with this stage of prostate cancer.

Treating Stage III Prostate Cancer – This stage indicates that the cancer could have spread beyond the prostate gland. In spite of this, organs like the lymph nodes, bladder, rectum, and other distant organs are not yet affected. The possible treatments for this stage may include: Radiation and surgery could be considered (since they may not be effective at this stage), Hormone therapy, watchful waiting (for older with no serious symptoms), radical prostatectomy in some areas, or a combination of radiation treatments and hormone therapy.

Treating Stage IV Prostate Cancer – This is the most dangerous stage of prostate cancer because major vital organs in the body are now affected by the cancer. The Lymph nodes, rectum, bladder, bones, and other distant organs are affected. The chances of this stage to get cured are very slim. However, the following treatments can be applied to relieve the symptoms: Hormone therapy, Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP), External beam radiation in combination of hormone therapy in certain areas, and chemotherapy.

Finally, understanding the stages of prostate cancer and the treatments for each would go a long way to help you get the best treatments. However, you need to know that some factors like age, risk or recurrence, life expectancy, can affect the choice of treatments the doctor may prescribe.

4 Major Side Effects of Advanced Prostate Cancer

May 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer Stages

Advanced Prostate Cancer is that cancer which has spread beyond the localized region of the prostate gland to other vital organs in the body. For individuals diagnosed with this stage of cancer, the prognosis is not often encouraging. This means that the chances of survival for such people are low. The dangers posed by advanced prostate cancer are complicated by the side effects experienced by the man who is diagnosed with this condition.

The side effects of advanced prostate cancer not only come from the disease but could also result from the various treatments applied. It is important that you get to understand some of these side effects so you know what to expect, how to deal with them, and how to cope with them when you undergo treatments. The following are highlights of four major side effects associated with advanced prostate cancer.

1 – Impotence – When you undergo treatments for advanced prostate cancer, there is the possibility that you are likely to become impotent. By this it means you are find it difficult to achieve or sustain erection. Hormone therapy is one the major treatments applied on those whose cancer level has become aggressive. The treatment is intended to reduce the testosterone levels in the body. The effect of this treatment could be impotence or erectile dysfunction. Surgical procedure to remove the testicles (orchiectomy) can also lead to impotence. In addition, some drugs taken as treatment for prostate cancer also lead to impotence.

2 – Infertility – This is related to the point above. However, this simply means the inability to fertilize the eggs of the woman for conception. Many men that have undergone prostate cancer treatment do face the issue of infertility or sterility. The treatments could have prevented ejaculation of semen that is necessary for fertility. However, some counter treatments can reverse this condition.

3 – Urinary Incontinence – Majority of the people that have undergone radiation therapy and surgical procedure as treatment for their cancer of the prostate may experience incontinence. This is a condition in which they are not able to control the flow of urine out of their body. The cause of this is often attributable to the damage the nerves or tissues controlling urine flow during the treatment.

4 – Weakening of Bones – When cancer of the prostate has spread in the body, it may attack the bones and result to what is known as bone metastases. The bones in the pelvic region and other parts would be susceptible to fracture and pains. When the bones begin to be affected in prostate cancer, the need for emergency measures becomes applicable.

These are four major side effects of advanced prostate cancer you ought to know. For each of these effects, there are treatments and remedies that can be applied to deal with it. Your doctor or urologist can help provide you with the best treatments and therapies to counter these side effects.  Medications, exercises, therapies, diet, and some other strategies can be recommended for you.

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