At Busch Center, we understand that being diagnosed with prostate cancer can be scary and overwhelming. We work with each patient – and their loved ones – to explain every step of their journey, answer their questions, and provide personalized, compassionate care.
Once a patient is diagnosed with prostate cancer, one of our first steps is to “stage” it to determine whether it’s considered low, intermediate or high-grade cancer. We assess the patient and consider multiple factors, including the cancer’s location and whether it has spread (metastasized) beyond the prostate gland.
The four main components to staging prostate cancer include:
- PSA level. The prostate makes a protein called prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is measured by a blood test. If the PSA is high, the patient may have prostate cancer, but other factors (including an enlarged prostate) can also cause elevated PSA levels. Once a patient is diagnosed with prostate cancer, his PSA level will be tracked regularly to determine how the cancer is behaving and how treatment is working.
- The tumor’s grade. The Gleason score is widely used to determine tumor grade, and ranges from 6 to 10 (6 is low grade, 7 is intermediate grade, and 8-10 is high grade.) The World Health Organization recently revamped the Gleason score with the Grade Group system, ranging from 1 (low) to 5 (very high).
- Whether the cancer is contained within the prostate. Busch Center uses state-of-the-art MRI technologies to detect exactly where the cancer is located and whether it has spread beyond the prostate.
- Whether the cancer has spread, or metastasized, to lymph nodes, bones or other organs
The stages of cancer include:
- Stage I – Cancer in this early stage is usually slow growing. PSA levels are low.
- Stage II – The tumor is found only in the prostate. PSA levels are medium or low. The cancer may have an increasing risk of growing and spreading.
- Stage III – PSA levels are high, the tumor is growing, or the cancer is high grade. The cancer is locally advanced and may be likely to grow and spread.
- Stage IV – The cancer has spread beyond the prostate to the lymph nodes and/or other parts of the body.
Every patient’s specific circumstances are different, and Busch Center’s experts collaborate with each patient’s medical team (including primary care physician, oncologist, urologist, etc.) to determine the best approach.
For low grade cancer, the patient may just need active surveillance. In these instances, we monitor the patient’s PSA via blood tests throughout the year and repeat the MRI in a year.
For intermediate grade cancer, patients may qualify for surveillance or preventative therapy.
For high-grade cancer, we use next-generation full body MRI to determine if the cancer is isolated in the prostate gland or if it has spread outside the gland. Depending on the results, we create a plan of action.
Busch Center Treatment Options
Traditionally, prostate cancer is treated with surgery and radiation, but there are new, alternative therapies to consider, as well. At Busch Center, we take a different approach, guiding our patients through traditional treatments, as well as new therapies, to determine the best course of care. We prefer treatments that provide good outcomes with the best quality of life for our patients such as TULSA and Focal laser Ablation.
Learn more about our innovative, non-invasive treatment options.