The Gleason scale is a guide for medical professionals to assess the outlook for those suffering from prostate cancer. It is an important method for predicting how aggressive the cancer is likely to be for the patient. Generally speaking, patients with a high Gleason score are likely to have an aggressive form of cancer and have a lower chance of survival. Knowing this score gives the medical professionals a guide for the type of treatment that should be undertaken.
Who developed the Gleason Grading System
The Gleason scale was developed Dr. Donald Gleason after a request from Dr. George Mellinger who was frustrated at the lack of a standardized test. He published his technique in a medical journal in 1966. Unfortunately, the scoring system took a long time to be widely adopted. It was 1987, when several experts began recommending its use that it was more widely adopted. Studies have shown the score to be a reliable method of assessing the aggression and survival rate of prostate cancer. Today, almost every patient suffering from prostate cancer will know the Gleason score.
To discover the Gleason score a surgeon removes a small sample, called a biopsy, of the prostate tissue and this is examined under a microscope. They examine the pattern of the cells to assess which common pattern it most closely resembles. This is added to the next most common pattern to form the Gleason score. There are a total of five Gleason patterns, which means the highest Gleason score is a 10. The most common Gleason pattern is number 3.