Once the cancer is detected in your prostate gland, your doctor will determine if it exceeds the prostatic capsule or not. Usually, the microscopic examination of samples taken during the biopsy associated with other medical procedures allows your physician to determine the stage of the cancer. In general, prostate cancer develops in four stages:
- Stage I – the tumor cannot be detected during rectal exam; it is, most of the times, discovered accidentally during exams for other prostate issues such as benign prostate enlargement (BPH).
- Stage II – a stage 2 prostate cancer is palpable on rectal examination, but remains localized to the prostate gland;
- Stage III – stage 3 prostate cancer has spread outside the prostate gland, seminal vesicles or other nearby tissues;
- Stage IV – at this final stage, the cancer has invaded adjacent organs in the prostate: lymph nodes, bones, lungs or other organs.