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Determining Prostate Cancer Stages at Dignity Health Central California

Prostate cancer is classified into four stages. Stages are assigned based on the cancer’s advancement. More extensive disease is indicated by higher stage numbers. At Dignity Health Central California, your doctor will stage your prostate cancer at the time of diagnosis, then use the stage to guide your personalized treatment plan.

The stage of your cancer depends on: 

  • Gleason score, which measures the aggressiveness of the cancer
  • PSA (prostate specific antigen) level at diagnosis
  • Whether the cancer is in the lymph nodes
  • Distant spread (metastasis) to other organs 

Your doctor may also use imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRI scans, to help stage prostate cancer. To meet with a specialist about prostate cancer stages in Central California, Find a Doctor today.


What are the Stages of Prostate Cancer?

Doctors use Roman numerals I, II, III, and IV to stage prostate cancer. Stage IV (four) is the most advanced form of the disease and stage I is the least extensive. Your treatment options are based on the stage of prostate cancer. Lower stage cancers are more likely to respond to treatment.

Stage I

Stage I cancer is confined to half of one lobe of the prostate gland or less. They generally have a low PSA level and a low Gleason score. At this stage, treatment may not yet be necessary.

Stage II

In stage II, the cancer has grown into both lobes of the prostate gland. The Gleason score of these tumors can range from low to high and they have higher PSA levels. For slow-growing tumors, watchful waiting may still be an option. Surgery and radiation are effective treatments.

Stage III

Stage III cancers have spread only to nearby seminal vesicles, outside of the prostate gland. These tumors can have any Gleason score and PSA level. Standard treatments at this stage involve a combination of surgery, radiation, and hormone therapy.

Stage IV

In stage IV, the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, organs, or other body sites. At this advanced stage, surgery can’t remove all the cancer. Treatment usually consists of a combination of radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy.

Most prostate cancers are found in the early stages, before symptoms develop. Talk to your doctor at Dignity Health Central California about the risks, benefits, side effects, and goals of each treatment option. We are here to answer all your questions with respect and humankindness, so you can feel confident about your treatment decisions.

Doctors at Dignity Health Central California provide complete diagnosis for all stages of prostate cancer in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.