Stages of Cancer
Cancer is a word used to describe the division and growth of abnormal cells inside the body. Cancer cells can reproduce and attack tissues throughout the body and can be hard to control. Cancer can be identified early or very late depending on where it is, what kind of symptoms it causes, and how soon you see your medical provider once you notice a problem.
What are the different stages of cancer?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, a medical provider may have given you information about the cancer’s stage.
Cancer Staging is a way of estimating how much cancer is in the body and how severe the cancer is. Staging also helps your medical team establish a treatment plan.
There are four stages of cancer starting with stage 1 and going to the most advanced, stage 4. No matter how a patient’s cancer progresses, the staging number will stay the same as it was when the cancer was found.
Staging looks at four main parts:
- The location of the original tumor
- Tumor size and how involved it is in the tissue around it
- Cancer cells in the lymph nodes
- The presence of metastasis, or movement of the cancer to other body parts nearby or far away from the tumor
Your medical provider may use a variety of tests (like X-rays, CAT scans or PET scans) plus blood work and a physical to help determine how advanced the cancer is. You may also need surgery to look more closely at the cancer or to remove it; your medical provider may also need to take samples of tissue or lymph nodes (biopsy) to know more about the cancer’s stage.
Stage 1 Cancer (Localized Cancer)
Stage 1 cancer cells have grown enough to move past their border called a “basement membrane” and out into the surrounding tissue.
Stage 2 Cancer (Local Spread)
Stage 2 cancer means the cancer cells have invaded the surrounding tissue more than in stage 1 and the tumor size is larger than a stage 1 cancer. Stage 2 cancers typically affect surrounding tissues, but may not have spread to other areas of the body. Sometimes stage 2 cancers will have early involvement in lymph nodes if they are nearby.
Stage 3 Cancer (Regional Spread)
Stage 3 cancers are larger and more advanced than stage 2. Tumors are larger and the cancer will have spread more deeply into healthy tissue. Stage 3 cancers usually invade several lymph nodes in the area and raise the risk that cancer cells will move through that connected system to other areas of the body.
Stage 4 Cancer (Advanced Cancer)
Stage 4 cancers are the most involved. These cancers will have grown even larger, spread to other organs or tissues of the body, and have formed tumors or established cancer cells in those areas. More than one part of the body may be involved in stage 4 cancer.
Request more information on stages of cancer today: call or contact us online.