What is stage 2 prostate cancer?

Stage 2 prostate cancer is confined to the prostate but large enough to be detected with a physical examination or seen on an imaging test. The prostate is a small organ normally the size of a walnut that functions as part of the male reproductive system, producing and transporting semen.

Stage 2 prostate cancer is part of the second most common cancer type after skin cancer. Prostate cancer is also the second-highest cause of death among men suffering from cancer. Since the development of prostate-specific antigen testing in the late 1980s, detection of early stages of prostate cancer has risen markedly. Of the 2,276,112 men with a history of prostate cancer in the United States in 2007, 80 percent were at a stage (such as stage 2) in which the disease was still located within the prostate and hadn't spread to other parts of the body.

Stage 2 prostate cancer is generally detected and diagnosed through routine screening. Prostate cancer can be detected even before symptoms begin to appear. There are two common tests for the disease: digital examination, in which the doctor physically feels the prostate using a lubricated finger inserted through the rectum; and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which is a blood test. If either of these tests indicates the potential for prostate cancer, further tests will be ordered, possibly including an ultrasound and a biopsy, or sample, of prostate tissue. Although it is possible to detect and diagnose stage 2 prostate cancer before symptoms appear, the practice remains controversial, as early detection of prostate cancer is not necessarily linked to higher survival rates.

With the right medical attention, the outlook for stage 2 prostate cancer is actually not as serious as might first be assumed. If prostate cancer is caught before it has a chance to spread to other parts of the body, long-term survival rates are extremely favorable, with a 5-year relative survival rate of 100 percent, and most people with the disease living as long as their healthy counterparts. This is due in part to the fact that the disease is often not detected until late in life. With stage 2 of the disease, it's not uncommon for symptoms to have yet to materialize, in which case your doctor may not even want to treat the disease right away.

Educate yourself about stage 2 prostate cancer and keep in close touch with friends and loved ones. Knowing what you're facing, and having the support network to assist you through the difficult times, will help combat the inevitable feelings of anger, fear, and depression that come with a diagnosis of cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.