What is Cancer?
The human body is made up of cells which are the basic unit that grows and divide to form new cells. New cells are formed when old ones are damaged and when this orderly process is interrupted, cancer begins. Cells which grow uncontrollably may create a mass called tumor which may grow and spread in other parts of the body.
Cancer is the most hazardous disease which is affecting the mankind today, but with the advancement of the technology, science, and medicine sector cancer has become curable. What you must remember is that it is curable only when it is diagnosed at an early stage by Medical Oncology.
Let us discuss in details about the stages of cancer, but before that, we have to understand staging.
What is staging?
Staging is the process through which doctors describe where a cancer is located, where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body. Diagnostic tests are used to determine the stage of cancer which is tough to determine until all the tests are finished. There are many centers for Cancer treatment in Siliguri with all the necessary pieces of equipment to diagnose cancer.
Staging helps the doctors in planning the treatment along with the type of the surgery if needed, and the proportion of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. Many centers of cancer Radiation Therapy in Siliguri provides chemotherapy and radiotherapy for the betterment of the mankind. They can also foresee the possibility of coming back of cancer. It helps in determining the condition of the patient after the treatment.
Clinical and Pathological
Doctors examine the results of the tests done before the surgery. There are mainly two types of staging, Clinical, and Pathological. Physical examinations and imaging tests are called clinical and when doctors found something during the surgery, it is called Pathological.
Oncologists indicate Clinical stage as lowercase “c” and Pathological stage as lowercase “p” before the TNM classification.
The TNM system is mostly used by the doctors to describe cancer’s stage.
Now before moving forward, it is important to understand the TNM process.
What is TNM?
Tumor (T): Numbers from 0 to 4 and the letter “T” is used in describing the location and size of the tumor and how much it has spread in the body. The size of the tumor is measured in centimeters and the tumor which has grown deep into the other tissues of the body gets a higher number. Doctors also use lowercase letters such as “a”, “b” and “m” and add them to the “T” category to get more relevant details.
Node (N): Numbers from 0 to 3 and the letter “N” stands for lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are called regional lymph nodes where cancer started and in other parts of the body, they are called distant lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are basically bean-shaped organs in the human body which fights any kinds of infection. Some tumors may be determined under the “N” category according to the location of the lymph nodes with cancer.
Metastasis (M): Doctors use the letter “M” to describe whether cancer has spread to the other parts of the body and this process is called distant metastasis. They label it by M0 in case cancer has not spread and M1 when cancer has spread.
Along with the TNM process, some other factors are included. Such as-
Grade (G): Doctors examine a cancer cell with the help of a microscope and compare it with a healthy cell. Number from 0 to 4 and the letter “G” is used to indicate the comparison between the healthy cell and cancer cell.
Biomarkers: Biomarkers are the substances which are found in blood, urine, body tissues or on the surface of the cancer cell. These biomarkers or tumor markers determine the spread of cancer and treatment options.
Tumor Genetics: The improvement of the science helped the researches in determining the genes involved in cancer. These genes help in predicting the type of cancer and the treatment to cure.
After the TNM results and other factors, doctors determine the stage of cancer.
stages of cancer
Let us discuss in details the stages of many types of cancers:
Stage 0: When the cancer is located in situ or the place where it started, it is called Stage o. In this stage, cancer has not spread to the nearby tissues and if a patient is diagnosed at this stage, the possibility of healing is high.
Stage 1: Stage 1 is basically called the early stage of cancer when cancer or tumor has not grown deeply into the nearby tissues. At this stage, the tumor has spread neither to the lymph nodes nor to the other parts of the body.
Stage 2 and 3: Stage 2 and 3 indicate that cancer has grown large and spread more deeply into the nearby tissues. Though, they have spread to the lymph nodes but not to the other parts of the body.
Stage 4: Stage 4 is the section when cancer has spread to the other organs of the body. This stage is called metastatic or advanced cancer.
Cancer can touch your body, but not your soul and thoughts!