The stages or stages of cancer
If you or a relative close to you have been diagnosed with cancer, the doctor will likely tell you about the stage of the disease. What does it mean? This is very important information because it talks about how advanced the cancer is. In Life and health we explain what it means.
Cancer is not a static disease. On the contrary, it is a disease that can progress over time, sometimes faster than others, but without treatment, does not stay the same.
Why? The onset of cancer is due to the fact that some cells in the body are altered and begin to divide and grow uncontrollably. Depending on the part of the body in which that happens, the cancer cells can grow and join others forming tumors and the tumors can invade neighboring organs or even the bones. Or cells can spread through the body traveling through the blood or lymphatic system, and form new tumors in other organs (a process called metastasis).
All that happens in a matter of weeks or months. And the larger a tumor or more cancerous cells are scattered throughout the body making metastases, the more difficult the treatment and the more negative the patient’s prognosis. That’s why screening is important. The earlier a cancer is discovered, the better the prognosis for the patient.
That’s why it’s so common to hear people talk about “how advanced” a cancer is. And that’s why cancer doctors, oncologists, insist on knowing the stage in which the disease is.
The stage or stage of a cancer talks about the extent or severity of the disease. That is, it refers to how large a tumor is or how much the cancer has spread through the body. And it is a very relevant fact for the oncologist, because it will allow him to predict how the cancer can progress and thus define what type of treatment should be applied to the patient, how urgently he needs it, and what the chances of recovery.
What are the stages or phases?
There are different ways to find out the “staging” of a cancer and each cancer manifests phases differently. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, the description of the stages or phases can generally be considered as follows:
- Stage O: Carcinoma in situ, which means that the cancer is still concentrated in its original place and has not yet spread to other organs.
- Stage I, Stage II and Stage III: The higher the stage number means that the cancer has spread more, either because the tumor has grown or because it has invaded neighboring organs.
- Stage IV: When cancer has spread by metastasis in other organs, ie, it has formed new tumors in other parts of the body.
This can give you an idea of what the oncologist is talking about when he mentions the stage or stage of cancer. Anyway remember that each cancer can manifest the stages differently, so ask your oncologist to explain how the cancer is developing in your particular case.
For many cancer patients, knowing the stage can be positive news in the midst of the disease. Although the diagnosis of cancer can frighten them, the knowledge that is still at an early stage opens the door of hope to continue fighting the disease. And regardless of the stage, research is constantly being done to find treatments for the cure of all types of cancer, so do not give up.