Urology Austin


Classifications of Prostate Cancer

Current statistics indicate that one in nine American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. While most are familiar with prostate cancer and understand that it originates in the prostate gland, the majority may not realize that there are several classifications of prostate cancer. The following information is presented as a basic guide to describe these classifications. This information will help prostate cancer patients and their families understand the terms that their provider may be using after diagnosis.

Active Surveillance

Prostate cancer that is localized and presents with low grade disease may be eligible for active surveillance. Active surveillance is elected after careful analysis of the prostate tissue, PSA and other criteria. Undergoing this treatment includes regularly scheduled visits with PSA monitoring and repeat prostate biopsies at designated intervals to measure the progression of the disease.

Localized Prostate Cancer

Localized prostate cancer refers to prostate cancer that is identified as remaining inside the prostate organ and has not grown into nearby tissues, lymph nodes, organs or traveled to other parts of the body. Localized disease can be associated with low, intermittent or high-grade prostate cancer.

Regional Prostate Cancer

Regional prostate cancer refers to prostate cancer that is identified to have grown outside the prostate organ and into nearby structures such as seminal vesicles, soft tissues, organs and lymph nodes. Regionally identified disease can be associated with more higher risk grade prostate cancer.

Biochemical Recurrence in Prostate Cancer

Biochemical recurrence or BCR, refers to the identification of increasing levels of PSA after primary and possibly secondary treatments for prostate cancer. The physician will carefully analyze prior treatments, progression of PSA, review the pathology reports from biopsy or surgery and may order radiological studies to rule out metastatic disease.

Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Refers to prostate cancer that has spread outside its original location and is now identified in distant parts of the body including bones, lymph nodes or other organs. Metastatic disease is identified by utilizing radiological studies such as CT, bone scan or Axumin PET scans.

Hormone Resistant Prostate Cancer

Also known as castrate resistant, the name describes prostate cancer that no longer responds to treatment designed to suppress testosterone and is identified by consecutive rises in PSA. Hormone resistant disease can be present with or without metastatic disease.

As with any form of cancer, early detection is extremely important. Current guidelines recommend that men begin screening for prostate cancer at around 50 years of age. African American men and  those with a family history of prostate cancer are at higher risk and should begin their screening before 50. In-office screening includes a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam. Contact Urology Austin to schedule a prostate cancer screening with one of our providers.