Prostate Cancer – Stages And Symptoms
Prostate cancer stages
It is a widely known fact that cancer progresses in primary, secondary and advanced stages. Likewise, prostate cancer too passes through these different stages and each stage is characterized by distinct features that mark the presence and intensity of the cancer cells and give the oncologist, adequate guidance to carry out his treatment plan. There are four distinct prostate cancer stages that range from Stage I to Stage IV wherein the cancer cells first grown in the prostate itself, then through the external layer of the prostate to the tissue close by. It then passes to the lymph nodes and then spreads slowly into different parts of the body.
- Stage I: Cancer cells are restricted to the prostate only. And during this stage it can be identified with the help of needle biopsy. Or in some cases, the cancer can be spotted in a few prostate tissues when a surgery is conducted for some other reasons. It can also be found in a single lobe of the prostate but is not visible through imaging.
- Stage II: This stage is divided into Stage IIA and Stage IIB. Though an advanced stage than the previous one, the cancer has not gone outside prostate. Identification of the cancer becomes easy when the PSA level and the Gleason score are taken into consideration.
- Stage III: In this stage, the cancer cells have gone beyond the external layer of the prostate and in some cases would have also entered into the seminal vesicles.
- Stage IV: In this stage, prostate cancer has gone beyond seminal vesicles and has spread into the nearby organs like the bladder, rectum, pelvic wall and lymph nodes too. There are very high chances that the cancer will spread into distant parts too in the body and usually into bones.
Cancer spreads in the body through blood, through tissue and through lymph system. And when these carcinogenic cells break loose from the origin and travel through other places of the body, there is a high chance that new tumors form as the prostate cancer stages advance. Therefore, identifying the appropriate prostate cancer stages is of great importance for carrying out treatment successfully.
Prostate cancer symptoms
Like many other cancers prostate cancer symptoms do not become prominent until the later stages. Here are the symptoms that people with prostate cancer experience during advanced stages:
- Major suspicion can arise when the person experiences multiple difficulties associated with urination. There is an exponential increase as far as the frequency of urination is concerned. The need to urinate is found to be more during the night. And the urgency to urinate as soon as possible also occurs quite frequently as a result of the loss of control over the urinary bladder muscles.
- There is an interrupted urine stream and hesitancy experienced while the stream flows in the form of urine. And in many cases, there is pain while urinating which is accompanied with a burning sensation as well as gnawing pain while urinating in the lower abdomen. A few people also might pass blood in the urine.
- Sexual life also witnesses a tremendous change in the sense that ejaculations are no more pleasurable but extremely painful, and there is blood too in the semen that is discharged. And the individual experiences great difficulty getting a penile erection.
- The individual also experiences untold inconvenience in the pelvic region and there is a persistent pain in the back as well the hip region. These symptoms however surface only as later stages of prostate cancer when it spreads its wings into other parts of the body as well.
- Edema, a condition of water accumulation, brings about swelling in the legs. The individual experiences drastic weight loss as well as fatigue. The red blood cell count in the body takes a nosedive and results in anemia.
- There is absolute loss of control over the bladder and bowels too. The individual experiences numbness or weakness in the feet or legs.
When the prostate cancer symptoms are detected at an early stage, the chances of having 100% recovery and a successful treatment are higher. Regular checkups therefore, will help an individual catch the prostate cancer at an early stage. The sooner the prostate cancer symptoms are reported to the doctor, the earlier can the diagnosis be done and treatment started.