The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the prostate or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:

Radionuclide bone scan A procedure to check if there are rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells, in the bone. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive material collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
Pelvic lymphadenectomy A surgical procedure to remove the lymph nodes in the pelvis. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells.
CT scan (CAT scan) A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
Seminal vesicle biopsy The removal of fluid from the seminal vesicles (glands that produce semen) using a needle. A pathologist views the fluid under a microscope to find out if cancer is present.

The results of these tests are viewed together with the results of the original tumor biopsy to determine the prostate cancer stage.

While clinical studies support the effectiveness of the da Vinci® System when used in minimally invasive surgery, individual results may vary. Surgery with the da Vinci® Surgical System may not be appropriate for every individual. Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits.

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