Stage 3 Prostate Cancer

Stage 3 prostate cancer is a fairly advanced stage of prostate cancer

Doctor showing x-rays to older patient in hospital room
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Stage 3 prostate cancer is a fairly advanced stage of prostate cancer where cancer has been detected beyond the confines of the prostate itself. It is also known as stage T3 (using the TNM staging system).

The "stage" of prostate cancer refers to how advanced or spread throughout the body it is.

Two main systems describe prostate cancer stages. The "TNM" system is the most commonly used, but the Jewett system is used by some doctors.


What is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer develops in the prostate — a small gland that makes seminal fluid. It is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows over time and in the beginning usually stays within the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may need minimal or no treatment, other types are aggressive and can spread quickly.

Prostate cancer that is caught early has a better chance of successful treatment.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer that is more advanced may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Trouble urinating
  • Decreased force in the stream of urine
  • Blood in the semen
  • Discomfort in the pelvic area
  • Bone pain
  • Erectile dysfunction

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

Factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer include:

  • Older age. Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you age.
  • Being black. Black men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races. In black men, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced. It's not clear why this is.
  • Family history of prostate or breast cancer. If men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of genes that increase the risk of breast cancer or a very strong family history of breast cancer, your risk of prostate cancer may be higher.
  • Obesity. Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that's more difficult to treat.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. You can talk about the possibility of any prostate cancer screening.

What Does Your TNM Prostate Cancer Stage Mean?

The TNM system for describing prostate cancer uses the letters “T,” “N,” and “M” to signify “Tumor,” “Nodes,” and “Metastasis.”

Specifically, stage 3 prostate cancer has extended through the capsule that surrounds the prostate, but has not spread to distant sites in the body.

There are two sub-stages of stage 3 prostate cancer:


Kumar V, Abbas A, Fausto N. Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease 7th Edition. 2004.

Mayo Clinic, Prostate Cancer.

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