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How Is the Gleason Score Used to Determine My Prostate Cancer Prognosis?

My doctor says that although I have prostate cancer, my Gleason score is relatively low. I'd like to know more about my Gleason score. What is it, and how is it used to determine my prostate cancer prognosis?


A pathologist will determine your Gleason score after examining a sample of your prostate tissue under a microscope. Gleason scores range from 2 to 10, with a low score indicating that the cancerous tissue still closely resembles normal, healthy prostate tissue, and a high score indicating that the cancerous tissue is quite different from normal tissue. Higher scores indicate a higher likelihood for the cancer to spread.
Your doctor will use your Gleason score, in combination with several other factors (such as how large the main tumor is, whether or not the cancer has spread to lymph nodes, whether it has spread to distant parts of the body, and your PSA [prostate-specific antigen] level when you were first diagnosed), to stage your cancer and help determine your prognosis.
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