Stages, types and grades of prostate cancer

The tests and scans you have to diagnose prostate cancer give information about:

  • the type of cell the cancer started in and where it began
  • how abnormal the cells look under the microscope (the grade)
  • the size of the cancer and whether it has spread (the stage)

In the UK, doctors use the Grade Groups or Gleason score to grade prostate cancer. Doctors now use the Grade Groups and other information to divide prostate cancer into 5 groups. This is called the Cambridge Prognostic Group (CPG).

You might also be told about the TNM stage, or you may see this on your pathology report. Another way doctors may describe your cancer is as localised, locally advanced and metastatic prostate cancer. 

Types of prostate cancer

The type of prostate cancer tells you which type of cell the cancer started in. The most common type is adenocarcinoma of the prostate.

Prostate cancer risk groups and the Cambridge Prognostic Group (CPG)

Doctors group prostate cancer into risk groups. In the UK, they now use the Cambridge Prognostic Group (CPG) system that divides prostate cancer into 5 risk groups. 

Grade Groups of prostate cancer

The Grade Group gives your doctor an idea of how the cancer might behave and what treatment you need. This is also known as the Gleason score. 

TNM staging for prostate cancer

The TNM staging is a way of describing the size of the cancer and how far it has grown. It stands for Tumour, Node, Metastasis. 

Localised prostate cancer

Localised prostate cancer is cancer that is completely inside the prostate gland.

Locally advanced prostate cancer

Locally advanced prostate cancer means the cancer has broken through the capsule (covering) of the prostate gland.

Metastatic prostate cancer

Metastatic prostate cancer means that a cancer that began in the prostate has spread to another part of the body.

Last reviewed: 
27 Apr 2022
Next review due: 
27 Apr 2025
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