Once cancer is diagnosed, it’s important to know what stage of cancer you have. Knowing what stage your cancer is tells you how serious it is.
The stage of solid tumor cancers depend on the size of the cancer, lymph node involvement, and if there is any spread of the tumor. This information helps your doctor plan the right course of treatment.
The TNM staging system is used for all types of solid tumor cancer. The letters TNM describe the amount and spread of cancer in your body.
- T: indicates how far the tumor penetrates into the tissues
- N: indicates whether the cancer has spread to surrounding lymph nodes.
- M: indicates metastasis, which means that cancer has spread to other body parts.
With blood cancers, doctors use some different factors for staging such as presenting symptoms, lymph node involvement, and blood cell counts.
Stages are usually often labeled using Roman numerals 0 through IV (0-4). Higher numbers mean cancer has spread and the cancer is more advanced.