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Prostate Cancer: The TNM Staging System

According to the American Cancer Society, the stage of a man’s prostate cancer is one of the most important factors in choosing treatment options and predicting an outlook. The stage is based on the prostate biopsy results (including the Gleason score), the PSA level, and any other exams or tests that were done to find out how far the cancer may have progressed.

Prostate cancer is staged using the TNM system, established by the American Joint Committee on Cancer. Five factors to stage prostate cancer are used:

  • The size of the tumor or “T”
  • The presence of cancer in nearby lymph nodes or “N”
  • Whether the cancer has metastasized “M”
  • The PSA level at diagnosis
  • Gleason score based on a biopsy or surgery

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Prostate cancer can also be categorized as “high risk,” “intermediate risk” or “low risk.” To learn about these groupings, visit the Prostate Cancer Research Institute.

To learn more about prostate cancer staging, visit the American Cancer Society’s website and talk to your doctor.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.