You may have been told shortly after being diagnosed with prostate cancer that your Gleason score is a certain number (for instance, 4+3). Your doctor may have also told you that this Gleason score is your prostate cancer's "grade". You may be wondering, "Does this number really mean anything"?
The short answer to this is, yes, this number actually does have some bearing on your life as a man diagnosed with prostate cancer. The grade of your cancer, most commonly described using the Gleason scoring system, tells your physicians a great deal about the character of the cancer cells present in your prostate.
In general, more aggressive cancers have higher Gleason scores and need to be followed more closely and treated more aggressively than cancers with low Gleason scores. If you have a low grade cancer, your physician will likely recommend a different initial course of action than if you have a high grade cancer. Furthermore, after treatment, you will likely be monitored much more closely for recurrence if you have a high grade cancer.
So, that Gleason score that your doctor has told you actually can have a major influence on how your diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up are structured.