Cancer Staging

November 2, 2018| Health and Wellbeing /

When diagnosed with cancer, your doctor’s next step will be to assess the size of the cancer and where it has started to grow. The area where your cancer has started to grow is referred to as ‘primary’ and if it spreads to other parts of the body, these areas will be referred to as ‘secondary’ or ‘metastases’.

The process of grading cancer is known as ‘staging’. Staging a cancer diagnosis allows your doctor to choose the most effective treatment for you.

 

The TNM System & Staging

TNM stands for ‘Tumour, Node, Metastases’ and the TNM system allows doctors to summarise information about the size of your cancer and the areas to which it may have spread.

The system can be readily explained as follows.

T - Represents the size of the cancer. Cancers are graded on a scale of 1-4, with a value of 4 representing a large cancer. 

N - Indicates if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes. As with our 'T' branch of the system, N is also graded on a numerical scale. A value of 0 indicates the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes while a value of 3 indicates that cancer has spread to lymph nodes in other areas of the body.

M - Establishes whether cancer has spread to areas of the body outside of the head and neck. 'M' is graded on a simple numerical scale of 0 (cancer hasn't spread to areas of the body outside of the head and neck) to 1 (cancer has spread to areas of the body outside of the head and neck).

 

Early or Advanced

After your doctor has calculated your values on each stage of the TNM system, they will assign you an overall grade on a one to four scale. Your doctor may write this number in Roman numeral format.

This numerical grade represents the stage of cancer that you’ve been diagnosed with and will belong to one of two groups.

  • Early cancer: Stage one or two cancers, less than 4cm in size that are confined to a single area

  • Advanced cancer: Stage three or four cancers that are greater than 4cm, have grown into nearby tissue, spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body

It’s important to remain in continual discussion with your doctors to understand what your stage of cancer means for you, as the chances of cure often vary from patient to patient.

Epworth provides comprehensive cancer services across all four major hospitals. Treatment is aimed at restoring happiness, health and quality of life. The Wig Salons at Epworth Freemasons, Epworth Eastern and Epworth Geelong are free services providing support and dignity to all Epworth cancer patients and education and support services are readily available to assist Epworth cancer patients on their treatment journey.



Rowan Webb

Contributor

Join the conversation on The Village



June 17, 2019| Health and Wellbeing/

When Period Pain Strikes Again

We caught up with Dr Kent Kuswanto, Epworth obstetrician and gynaecologist to talk all things periods.

June 13, 2019| Our Community/

Team Recipes - Super Moist Gluten Free Banana Bread

Recipes brought to you by the Epworth team. You can’t stop at one slice and you’ll never know it’s gluten free! Slice & serve warm.

June 11, 2019| Our Community/

First Birthday for Epworth Cousins

It’s been a year since we’ve been following sisters Alex and Jane’s bubs - Charlotte and Lola. It’s been a year since they both gave birth to their daughters, one at Epworth Freemasons and the other at Epworth Geelong. Let’s find out how life has changed since then.

June 4, 2019| Health and Wellbeing/

Ovarian Cysts

An ovarian cyst is a fluid filled sac or pouch which forms on the ovary. Ovarian cysts, in most cases are harmless and resolve on their own. If the cyst is cancerous, it requires medical intervention. Ovarian cysts are common in women of childbearing age.

May 21, 2019| Health and Wellbeing/

Catering for Someone with a Food Allergy

With 1 in 10 infants now developing a food allergy, being conscious of what you are buying and how you prepare food is more important than ever.