Approach to Cancer Care
Grand Canyon University
October 5, 2011
Staging is the process of finding out how much cancer there is in the body and where it is located. It is how the doctor learns the stage of a person's cancer. Doctors use this information to plan treatment and to help predict a person's outlook (prognosis). Cancers with the same stage tend to have similar outlooks and are often treated the same way. The cancer stage is also a way for doctors to describe the extent of the cancer when they talk with each other about a person’s case.
Doctors need to know the amount of cancer and where it is in the body to be able to choose the best possible treatment. For example, the treatment for early stage breast …show more content…
Once the values for T, N, and M have been determined, they are combined, and an overall stage is assigned. For most cancers, the stage is a Roman numeral from I to IV. Sometimes stages are subdivided as well, using letters such as A and B. For example, a T1, N0, M0 breast cancer would mean that the primary breast tumor is less than 2 cm across (T1), does not have lymph node involvement (N0), and has not spread to distant parts of the body (M0). This would make it a stage I cancer.
Stage 0 is carcinoma in situ for most cancers. This means the cancer is at a very early stage, is only in the area where it first developed, and has not spread. Not all cancers have a stage 0. Stage I cancers are the next least advanced and often have a good prognosis (outlook for survival). As the stage number goes up the cancers are more advanced (bigger and more widespread), but in many cases they can still be treated.
Cancer and its treatment can cause several complications and side effects from treatments including:
· Pain. Pain can be caused by cancer or by cancer treatment. Most cancer-related pain can be treated effectively.
· Fatigue. Fatigue in people with cancer has many causes, but it can often be managed. Fatigue associated with chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatments is common, but it's usually temporary.
· Difficulty breathing. Cancer or cancer treatment may cause a feeling of being short