Stages of cancer
Any tests you have for cancer will help show if you cancer, the size of the tumour and if it has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. Staging refers to how far the cancer has spread. The most widely used staging system is the TNM Staging system.
TNM staging system:
- T (Tumour) indicates the depth of the tumour invasion - the higher the number (between 1 and 4), the further the cancer has spread.
- N (Nodes) indicates whether the lymph nodes are affected - a number between 0 and 3 describes how much the cancer has spread to lymph nodes near the organ site of the primary tumour.
- M (Metastasis) indicates whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body – M1 means the cancer has spread to other organs or lymph nodes that are not near the organ site of the primary tumour. ; M0 means there is no sign of the cancer spreading to other parts of the body.
This information is combined to describe the stage of the cancer from stage I to stage IV.
Grading describes how active cancer cells and tissue are and how fast they are likely to grow and spread.
- Grade 1 (low grade) indicates the cancer cells look a little different from normal cells and are usually slow-growing.
- Grade 2 (intermediate grade) indicates the cancer cells do not look like normal cells and are growing faster than grade 1 cancer cells.
- Grade 3 (high grade) indicates that the cancer cells look very different from normal cells and are fast-growing.
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