Diagnosis, Staging and Gleason scores

The Gleason grade uses numbers 1 to 5

Prostate cancer can have several patterns under the microscope, which are each assigned a different number. The first number in the score is the most common and the second number in the score is the next most common pattern seen under the microscope. Once those two numbers are determined, they are added together to come up with the Gleason score, which ranges from 2 to 10.

Two exceptions:

  • If the highest grade takes up 95% or more of a man’s biopsy, that grade is counted twice as the Gleason score
  • If three grades of cancer are found in one biopsy core sample, the highest grade is always used, even if the majority of the core sample involves low-grade cancer
  • Most biopsies are grade 3 or higher. Grades 1 and 2 are rarely used.

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