Prostate Cancer - Causes, Types, Symptoms and Treatment

What Is Prostate Cancer?

What Are the Causes of Prostate Cancer?

What are Types of Prostate Cancer

Knowing the types of prostate cancer helps the doctor to prescribe the correct treatment. Take a look at the different types of prostate cancer -

Types of Prostate Cancer


Ductal Adenocarcinoma

It develops in the cells that line the tube of the prostate gland. It spreads quickly compared to acinar adenocarcinoma.

Acinar Adenocarcinoma

It develops in the glands cells of the prostate.

Small Cell Prostate Cancer

It is neuroendocrine cancer that is composed of small round cancer cells.

Squamous Cell Cancer

This type of cancer develops from the flat cells covering the prostate.

Transitional Cell Cancer

It develops in the cells lining the urethra. This is the tube that carries the urine outside the body. It may spread into the bladder and other tissues.

What Are the Symptoms of Prostate Cancer?

Stages of Prostate Cancer

What Is Gleason Score in Prostate Cancer

A healthcare professional decides the Gleason score based on a biopsy result of a prostate tumour. The score is also assigned based on the growth of cancer cells, location and how much it has spread. After adding the results, doctors give a score ranging between 6 to 10. Here's what each scale tells about the state of one's cancer tissue:

Gleason Score


6 or lower Gleason score

Well-differentiated; healthy cells.


It is moderately differentiated, similar to healthy cells.

8, 9 and 10

Poorly differentiated; cells are not healthy


No scores are identified

Patients with higher Gleason scores need intensive treatment even though cancer has not spread much to the other body parts.

Different Stages of PSA in the Blood for Prostate Cancer

PSA is a protein composed of normal and cancerous cells in the prostate. A higher PSA level in your blood indicates the risk of developing prostate cancer. Take a look at what each PSA levels mean -

PSA Levels

Rate of Developing Prostate Cancer

4 and 10 ng/mL

25% chances of developing prostate cancer

More than 10 ng/mL

50% chances of developing prostate cancer

Most doctors prescribe additional tests if your PSA levels exceed 4 ng/mL.

Currently, American Urological Association recommends PSA testing for the following age group -

  • People between the age group of 55 to 69.
  • Individuals with family medical history or associated with other risk factors.

Now, based on these tests, doctors assign you from the following stages -

Stage I

Stage II

In this stage, the tumour does not spread to the lymph node or other body parts.

  • Gleason Score – 6 or below
  • PSA Level – less than 20ng/mL
  • 5-year Survival Rate – 100%

Stage II is divided into 2 categories based on Gleason scores -


Stage II Categories

Gleason Score




7 or 8

Stage III

The cancer cell is still distant from other parts of the body. Further the stage III is divided into 3 broad categories:

Stage III Categories and Meaning

Gleason Score

PSA Levels

A – Cancer cells have not spread outside the prostate or reached lymph nodes.

8 or below

20ng/mL or above

B – Cancer cells have spread to seminal vesicles and tissues around them.

Similar to stage III A

Any levels

C – Cancer cells may or may not have reached lymph nodes or other body parts

9 or 10

Any levels

Stage IV

It is the final stage of prostate cancer. In this, cancer usually spreads to other parts of the body. The 5-year survival rate reduces to 30%. Stage IV prostate cancer can have any PSA levels or Gleason score. It is further sub-divided into 2 categories:

Stage IV Categories



Cancer has spread only to lymph nodes.


Cancer has spread to lymph and other body organs.

What Are the Treatments for Prostate Cancer?

Radiation Therapy

In this, high energy X-rays are used to destroy cancer cells. Doctors use 2 types of radiation therapy -

Types of Radiation Therapy


External-beam radiation therapy

A machine is located outside the body with X-rays targeted at the cancer cells.

Brachytherapy or internal radiation therapy

Doctors insert radioactive seeds into the prostate. Seeds are surgically placed at or near cancer cells to destroy them.

Possible side-effects of radiation therapy are -

  • Problems in bowel
  • Bleeding from rectum
  • Tiredness

Doctors also use other therapies to treat prostate cancer -

Types of Therapies



Doctors use drugs to destroy cancer cells.


A doctor inserts a probe into or near the prostate to destroy it.

Biological/immunotherapy therapy

This therapy is used to boost one's immune system. An improved immune system will work to fight cancer or relieve pain from cancer treatments' side effects.

Hormone therapy

It blocks cancer cells from receiving the hormone and prevents their growth.

Focal therapies

Doctors use heat or cold to destroy cancer cells in low risk or intermediate-risk cancer patients.

High-intensity focused ultrasound

Healthcare experts insert an ultrasound probe into the rectum. Sound waves are directed to the cancer cells and destroy them.

Other treatments include -

  • Using bone-modifying drugs
  • Targeted therapy

What Are the Ways to Prevent Prostate Cancer

Change Your Lifestyle

Frequently Asked Questions