Common Questions: The Prostate
What are the stages of prostate cancer?
Stages of prostate cancer are measurements of prostate cancer size and spread. Prostate cancer stages are most commonly reported with the TNM system: T represents the primary prostate tumor, N represents the lymph nodes, and M represents other sites of metastasis.
Many prostate cancers are detected at early stages. Many have no metastasis to lymph nodes, bone, liver, or other sites. Indeed, many cannot even be detected by the digital rectal examination. At such early stages, prostate cancer is most curable.
A common stage of prostate cancer, in which digital rectal examination and all other tests are negative, is T1c, N0, M0: the T1c designation means it cannot be felt, the N0 means there is no evidence of lymph node metastasis, and the M0 means there is no evidence of other metastasis.