In prostate cancer…The Gleason’s score is everything.

Not all cancers are created equal-They ain’t all the slow growing kind.

Why is it that one lady with breast cancer does well and the next succumbs to the disease quickly? Why is it some “battle” a cancer and win and others lose?

It has to do with the nature of the cancer…in simple terms is it an aggressive one or not? All cancers are diagnosed with a sample of tissue obtained by the physician and the pathologist evaluates it. The pathologist does the obvious thing, that is, determines what kind of cancer is it. Just as important he also then “grades” the tissue, i.e. its potential for being aggressive.

In prostate cancer the grading is called the The Gleason’s Score. The pathologist takes two areas of cancer and then grades each 1-5. If one is graded 3 and the other 4 then the Gleason’s score id 7. Prostate cancer becomes progressively aggressive as the score moves from 6 (3+3)  to  10 (5+5).

If your score is 8 and your friend’ score is 6 then your decision making process will much different than his. He needs to worry about an aggressive cancer and you may have surveillance options he doesn’t.

So when a friend tells you what a friend did for his cancer, that is not necessarily what you should do. Everyone must consider factors specific to him:

  • Your age
  • Your family situation
  • Your underlying health
  • Does leaking urine scare you
  • Are you potent
  • Your work
  • What is important to you
  •  Psa, staging, rectal exam
  • And then your Gleason’s score

When someone tries to put your square cancer into the round peg of their friend…you might just ask them, “What was his Gleason’s score?”

When they don’t know the friend’s score, much less what a Gleason’s is, then you’ll begin to understand the complexity of a disease that the general public lumps together as…

The Slow Growing Kind

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