Grading Prostate Cancer

To estimate the aggressiveness of your prostate cancer—its potential to spread to other parts of the body—we use the Gleason grading system. The higher the grade, the more aggressive the cancer.

The cancer is assigned a score of 1-5. Grade 1 means that the cells look almost like normal prostate cells. Grade 5 means that the cells look very different from normal prostate cells. Most prostate cancers contain cells with different grades.

The Gleason score is determined by adding the two most common grades found in the cells. For example, the most common grade found in the tissue sample maybe a grade 3 followed by grade 4 cells. The Gleason score would be 7.

  • Grade 6 or less: Cancer cells that look similar to normal cells and may be less likely to spread or may grow more slowly.
  • Grade 7: Intermediate risk of aggressive cancer.
  • Grade of 8 or higher: The cancer is more likely to grow and spread quickly.

The Gleason grade is helpful in selecting the most appropriate treatment option. Learn more about the treatment decision process.

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