Prostate Cancer Risk Groups

Prostate Cancer Risk

Around twelve percent of men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer; men most at risk are over fifty, black, or from families with a history of prostate cancer.

Those with any risk factors combined with associated symptoms, should consult their doctor regarding their personal risk and if necessary, explanations on further assessment or treatments. It’s also believed that a balanced diet and leading a healthy active lifestyle can decrease the possibility of a prostate cancer becoming aggressive or advanced; advanced meaning the cancer is likely to spread or to develop to the outer prostate. Healthy eating and regular exercise help maintain a healthy weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) score.¹

Prostate Cancer Risk
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Prostate Cancer Diagnosis

Patients diagnosed with prostate cancer will be given an initial assessment of their disease; this will be classified as being low, intermediate or high-risk and will dictate both the patient’s prognosis and planning for the treatment options available. Those three prostate cancer risk classifications are explained below.

Low risk

Prostate cancer which can’t be felt physically (T1c/T2a staging), PSA levels lower than ten, or Gleason scores of six or less, could indicate low-risk prostate cancer. Despite the risk that such slowly developing cancer could spread, patients are closely monitored via frequent ongoing assessments, with no urgent need for treatment deemed necessary.

Intermediate risk

Patients will usually be advised to have immediate treatment where prostate cancer is physically felt (T2b/c staging) in a DRE (Digital Rectal Examination), where PSA levels are higher than twenty, or the Gleason score is seven or above; each indicates intermediate-risk of prostate cancer and so as to minimise doubts, second opinions should be sought.

High risk

Prostate cancer is diagnosed and classified high-risk where two of the following are true: Prostate cancer has grown beyond the prostate (T3/T4 staging), PSA levels are twenty or above, or the Gleason score ranges from eight to ten.

Treatment Options

Low risk cancer could exist in the prostate gland for years; although many curative treatment options exist, typically, patients are only monitored closely via frequent assessments. Intermediate risk patients often form their treatment plans following expert consultation; personal circumstance could also impact treatment plans. Curative treatment will be available to high risk prostate cancer patients.

Promising results have been attained via a combination of radiotherapy, hormone treatment and chemotherapy methods/technologies. This technique has delivered similar results to specialist surgical procedures such as the extended lymph node dissection, but generally with less risk involved.

¹Prostate Cancer UK, Are You at Risk?, August 2019

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