Every Friday is Don’t Fear the Finger Friday. We wear t-shirts on September Fridays to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer.
Many early stage prostate cancers can begin to grow with quite low levels of PSA, a protein made by the cell inside the prostate. Today, a PSA test that shows higher levels is the number one reason why prostate cancer is detected in the United States. This testing has helped doctors find and treat many prostate cancers that otherwise might not have been detected. Low blood PSA level does not always mean that there is no prostate cancer.
Even when there is a concern about prostate cancer, a biopsy is needed to prove it. During the procedure, several small bits of tissue are removed from the prostate with a needle. An ultrasound is usually used to guide the needle during the biopsy. After the biopsy, a pathologist looks at the prostate tissue samples under a microscope to determine if there is cancer. Many men who have a biopsy do not have cancer. Serious complications after a biopsy are rare. Sometimes an infection or rectal bleeding can occur.
If prostate cancer is found, the pathologist gives it a grade. The grade is a measure of how quickly the tumor is likely to grow and spread. The most common grading system is called the Gleason score. These scores range from 2 to 10. To determine the grade of a tumor, the pathologist scores each bit of tissue from the biopsy and then adds the two most common values together to determine the Gleason score. Although a score of 2 to 4 shows low aggressiveness, these numbers are almost never seen following a biopsy. The lowest score that is usually found is 5; as a result, that is the least aggressive score. A Gleason score of 6 is more aggressive. Gleason 7 tumors show even higher aggressiveness. These scores come in two varieties. A 4+3 tumor is more aggressive than a 3+4 tumor because more of the higher aggressive grade tumor was found. Gleason 8, 9 and 10 tumors are the most aggressive. These usually have already spread by the time they are found. Talk to your doctor about your Gleason score.
Learn more at http://urologyhealth.org/