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The Four Stages Of Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a gland that is present in men as part of their reproductive system. It is roughly three centimeters and is located at the neck of the bladder and in front of the rectum. It surrounds the urethra, through which urine and semen must travel to be expelled from the penis. Prostate cancer occurs most often in men over fifty years old, and is treatable if detected early. Treatments for the disease vary according to the overall health of the patient and how advanced the prostate cancer is at the time it is detected. For this reason, physicians have identified four primary stages of the disease.

Stage T1, Early Disease

At stage T1, a tumor is present in the prostate, but it is microscopic. It can only be detected via biopsy, and its presence was most likely detected through a blood test. The tumor is isolated and has not spread outside the edges of the prostate. Treatment options for prostate cancer at this stage include watchful waiting, surgery to remove the prostate, or external and internal radiation. The prognosis at this point is excellent.

Stage T2, Intermediate Disease

The tumor is larger at the intermediate stage, and can be felt during an external rectal exam. It is isolated and has not grown beyond the walls of the prostate, but the patient may now be experiencing some symptoms due to the squeezing of the urethra. Symptoms may include difficulty urinating or ejaculating, burning during urination and ejaculation, frequent urges to urinate (especially at night), and blood in the urine or semen. Treatment options for prostate cancer at this stage include a prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate), external and internal radiation, and hormone therapy. At this point, the prostate cancer is still treatable.

Stage T3, Locally Advanced Disease

Prostate cancer victims at this stage will experience symptoms as relating to the urethra, as well as swelling in the upper legs, stiffness and aching in the lower back and pelvic area, and potentially a sudden weight gain. The tumor has spread outside the walls of the prostate and into the surrounding tissues and the lymph node. Prostate cancer treatment options at this stage include surgery, external and internal radiation, and radiation combined with hormone therapy.

Stage T4, Advanced Disease

In this stage, the prostate cancer has now spread to other organs in the body. If the disease advances to this stage, the prognosis becomes relatively dim, and treatments are oriented toward decreasing severity of symptoms and slowing the development of additional cancer cells. Hormone therapy, combined with radiation, and possibly chemotherapy, will be the treatment option offered.


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