Staging is a way of recording how far the cancer has spread. The most common method is the TNM (Tumour-Nodes-Metastases) system.
The T stage shows how far the cancer has spread in and around the prostate gland. A digital rectal examination (DRE) can measure this. You may also have an MRI scan to confirm your T stage.
|T1||The tumour cannot be felt and can only be seen under a microscope||localised prostate cancer|
|T2||The tumour can be felt but it is contained within the prostate gland||localised prostate cancer|
|T3||The tumour can be felt breaking through the capsule of the prostate or into the seminal vesicles||locally advanced prostate cancer|
|T4||The tumour has spread to nearby organs, such as the neck of the bladder, back passage or pelvic wall||locally advanced prostate cancer|
The N stage shows whether the cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are part of your immune system and are found throughout your body. The lymph nodes in your groin are near the prostate and are a common place for prostate cancer to spread to.
The N stage is measured using an MRI or CT scan. This stage will only be measured if the result is likely to affect your treatment options.
NX - The lymph nodes were not measured.
N0 - The lymph nodes do not contain cancer cells.
N1 - The lymph nodes do contain cancer cells.
The M stage shows whether the cancer has spread (metastasised) to other parts of the body, such as the bones. This is measured using a bone scan. Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is called advanced prostate cancer. This stage may not be measured if the result is unlikely to affect your treatment options.
MX - The spread of the cancer was not measured.
M0 - The cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.
M1 - The cancer has spread to other parts of the body.