The 4 stages of cancer can tell you and your doctor what to expect. The present staging system is used by doctors to assess the spread of cancerous cells in a patient's body. In this type of staging, numbers are used to describe how far and how deep the tumor has grown and has spread.
The staging used is regardless of the classification your tumor belongs to.
Staging is from 1, 2, 3, and 4. The first 2 stages are also called the early stages while 3 and 4 are the last stages. The stages describe the extent of the progression or growth of the malignant tumor inside your body.
Most tumor cases -- those types which form solid tumors --- are grouped into 4 stages of cancer.
In early stage, cancers are small and are contained within the organ where they started. They are easy to treat and are curable most of the time regardless of their type and the patient's age and health condition.
Stage 2 is still part of the early stages. The tumor is bigger compared to that in Stage 1. Lymph nodes close to the tumor are already affected. But the tumor is still treatable and prognosis is good.
At stage 3, the malignancy is still similar to Stage 2. Whether the tumor can be defined as Stage 2 or 3 depends on the specific type.
For example, in Hodgkins disease, Stage 2 means there are now cancerous lymph nodes located on one side of the diaphragm whereas in Stage 3, cancerous lymph nodes are found above and below the diaphragm.
Stage 4 is already the last phase. If the malignancy is diagnosed to be in the final stages, it usually is metastatic. The cancerous cells have spread either to other organs or throughout the body.
This is also called the advanced phase. Treatment is very difficult and doesn't have a high rate of success during the last stages of tumor growth.
Among the different types of tumor, pancreatic and lung cancers are discovered and diagnosed when they are already in their final stages.
The 4 stages system is also called as overall stage grouping. It is one of the staging systems currently used in tumor cases. It is the most common and most popular method of describing the growth and progression of a tumor.
Staging tumors on a scale of 1 as the best prognosis and 4 as worst prognosis is easier for an ordinary person to understand.
But medical people have realized that the traditional system presently being used doesn't provide adequate, relevant and useful information about the progression of cancer. This is very true in blood cancers. Information on how the tumor has grown is vital in planning the type of treatment.
Thus, the International Union Against Cancer developed and now maintains a new method of classifying the progression of tumor growth known as TNM staging. But the 4 stages of cancer system is still being used in diagnosing tumors.
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