The Gleason score

In the 1960s, an American pathologist named Donald Gleason came up with a a scoring system to help urologists classify prostate cancers.

The score is a measure of the aggressiveness of the cancer and helps us give an accurate prognosis. Scores range from 2 to 10. The higher the number, the worse the prognosis.

If you would like to read more, there is a good explanation on the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia’s website.

Stages of prostate cancer

Stage T1 – This is where the prostate feels normal on rectal examination, but a cancer is diagnosed, usually through PSA screening (T1c). The cancer can also be diagnosed after a transurethral resection of the prostate for management of bladder outflow obstruction (T1a <5% of tissue involved, T1b >5% of tissue involved).

Stage T2 – The cancer is palpable in the prostate, but confined inside the wall (capsule) of the prostate. T2a involves less than half one lobe, T2b involves more than half one lobe and T2c involves both lobes.

Stage T3 – In this stage the cancer has extended outside the wall of the prostate in one lobe (T3a), both lobes (T3b) or invaded into the seminal vesicle (T3c)

Stage T4 – Unfortunately in this stage the cancer has invaded an adjacent organ, such as the rectum or bladder. These tumours are rarely cured with surgery alone.

N stage – this identifies the presence or absence of cancer spread into the pelvic lymph nodes

M stage – this identifies the spread of tumour into bones or other solid organs within the body