Prostate cancer is cancer of the prostate gland, a part of the male reproductive system that is located just below the bladder. Prostate cancer can also spread to other parts of the body, including bones and the lymphatic system.
An estimated 192,000 cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2009, and 27,000 men will die of the cancer, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) uses a system known as TNM to describe the characteristics of the cancer. The staging system measures the extent of the primary prostate tumor, whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and if the cancer has moved into other distant areas of the body.
Prostate cancer cells can spread to nearby bones, a condition known as bone metastases. The presence of this cancer can be detected using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam.
Prostate cancer can also spread to the lymph nodes of the body. The lymphatic system is an important part of the body’s immune system. A test called a lymphadenectomy is performed. This involves the removal of part of the lymph node so it can be examined for the presence of cancer.
Spreading To Body Areas
Prostate cancer can metastasize, or spread to any other part of the body. A typical place for it to spread first is to areas nearby, including the seminal vesicles, the bladder, the rectum and to part of the pelvis.