Ask a nurse

Do you have a question about cancer? Our Digital Nurse Ellen or one of our specialist nurses will aim to respond within 2 working days.

jim 788 confused terminology problem

Posted by

Hi I have stage 4 prostate cancer (pT3b, N0, M1b) psa 0.15 told I am a PSA negative patient.  no idea what the in brackets mean. my cancer has spread to my pelvic area Looking around site what is prostrap?Maybe wrong spelling and radium223? I am seeing my consultant on 27 Jan just had CT SCAN in Dec and bone scan just before Christmas I am under palliative care hoping he will tell my caner is still stable as it was last September. Would be nice to know what further treatments there are and what the terminology  means

Best Regards

Jim        Not very computer lit

Best wishes,
Ellen M-Macmillan
Posted by

Hi ,

Thanks for getting in touch with us.

It’s understandable why you’re wanting information about your prostate cancer. It can help you to take back control as well as know questions to ask your consultant when they see you on the 27th January.

The terminology that doctors use to describe cancer can be confusing, and it can be difficult to make sense of what it all means.

They often use a staging system called TNM to describe a cancer. If you click onto this link it will explain this in more detail.

When you have the letter p in front of this it means that your cancer has been reported by a pathologist after surgery.

Tumour describes the size of the tumour (area of cancer). This is a simplified description of the T stage.

There are 4 main stages of cancer size in prostate cancer – T1 to T4.

T3b means the cancer has spread into the tubes that carry semen (seminal vesicles).

Node (N) describes whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

N0 means that the nearby lymph nodes don’t contain cancer cells

Metastasis (M) describes whether the cancer has spread to a different part of the body. This is reported after you have a scan to stage the cancer.

M1b means there are cancer cells in the bone

Because the cancer has spread to your bones this means that your cancer is advanced and is a Stage 4 cancer.

It’s encouraging that your PSA level is so low, this means that your cancer is being kept under control. Hopefully your recent scans will confirm that your cancer is remaining stable.

You can receive palliative care at any stage in your illness. Having palliative care doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re likely to die soon – some people receive palliative care for years. You can also have palliative care alongside treatments, therapies and medicines aimed at controlling your illness, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. 

Decisions about treatments are made by a team of experts(MDT) who know your individual circumstances.

We have this information about the different treatment options for advanced prostate cancer that can be helpful to read. It includes information about Prostap and Radium-223 that you can read.

Before going to see your specialist in the next few weeks we would encourage you to think about questions that you would like to ask your doctors.

There are many ways that we can offer you support. I can see that you’ve already joined some of our Online groups that’s good to see as there is nothing quite like the support that you can get from others who know what it’s like.

You can call our Support Line on 0808-808-0000 and talk to one of our nurses especially if you’re finding using the computer difficult to do at times. Our lines are open every day from 8am till 8pm.

Prostate Cancer UK offer a One-to-one support service to anyone affected by prostate cancer or prostate disease. It gives you the opportunity to talk with a trained support volunteer over the telephone.

Best wishes and take care

Ellen-Macmillan Online Digital Nurse Specialist.

Posted by

                    Just to say thank you for the information

Best Regards


Best wishes,