Prostate cancer

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Risk of prostate cancer recurrence

Doctors may classify prostate cancer into groups based on the risk of the cancer coming back (recurring) after treatment. They use these risk levels to help them develop treatment plans. Men in the high-risk group are usually offered aggressive treatment. Those in the low-risk group may be offered active surveillance without immediate treatment.

The risk level is based on the:

  • tumour (T)
  • prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level
  • Gleason score

Risk levelTumour details (T)PSA level (ng/mL)Gleason score

low risk

T1 or T2a

less than 10

6 or less

intermediate risk

T2b or T2c

10 to 20

7

high risk

T3 or T4

greater than 20

8, 9 or 10

Learn more about staging prostate cancer (including tumour details), the PSA test and grading prostate cancer (including the Gleason score).

active surveillance

Treatment that uses regular and frequent tests to closely watch a slow-growing cancer. The goal of active surveillance is to help keep a good quality of life while delaying other treatments that can cause side effects for as long as possible. When test results show that the cancer is getting worse, treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy are offered.

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