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.

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