Gastric Cancer Stages
Gastric cancer occurs when a tumor starts growing in the inner wall of your stomach. As this tumor gets spreads, the stage of your gastric cancer elevates. Observing the symptoms at the initial level can help you to get your disease diagnosed and treated earlier. While diagnosis, your doctor will perform certain tests and examinations to stage your disease. Treatment preferences are based on the examination of the gastric cancer stages.
What is gastric cancer staging?
The stage of cancer indicates the size and extent at which the cancer has traveled. Tests and scans are helpful to know the stage of the cancer. Since treatment is based on the stage of the disease, understanding the stage is of great significance. In most cases your doctor may find it difficult to tell your cancer stage until you undergo a surgery to remove it. Staging of cancer can be done in different manner. TNM and number system are the most common methods.
TNM system of staging:
TNM represents: T - Tumor (extent of original tumor)
N- Node (occurrence or absence of tumor in the lymph nodes)
M-Metastasis (occurrence or absence of cancer cells in distant organs or metastases)
Number system of staging:
Spread of stomach cancer can be described in 5 main stages - 0 to 4.
How gastric cancer can be described by using the TNM stages?
This system of staging is used to describe spread of gastric cancer at different levels.
T stage: This describes spread of the primary malignant cells. Sub stages are used to show the exact spread of tumor.
T1: The tumor is at the onset to develop in the inner layer of the stomach.
T1a: Cancer is restricted to the connective tissues under the interior lining (submucosa) of the stomach.
T1b: Tumor is present only in the interior lining of the stomach (submucosa).
T2: Tumor starts developing into the muscular tissues of the stomach lining.
T3: Tumor has developed into the membrane that covers the outer part of the stomach.
T4: Tumor has spread and developed into the outer side of the stomach lining.
T4a: tumor has developed right through the wall of the stomach and wrecked through it.
T4b: It has developed through the lining of the stomach and wrecked through other nearby body organs such as gullet, liver or abdominal wall.
Stage N (spread extent in the lymph nodes):
N0: No cancer cells in any of the lymph nodes
N1: 1 or 2 lymph nodes nearby stomach are infected by the cancer cells.
N2: 3 or 6 lymph nodes nearby stomach are infected.
N3a: About 7 to 15 lymph nodes adjoining stomach are infected by the cancer cells.
N3b: More than 16 lymph nodes are infected by the cancer cells.
Stage M (spread extent in different organs of the body):
This stage can be divided into two sub stages:
Number of gastric cancer stages:
Gastric cancer can be divided into five stages (stage 0 to 4):
Carcinoma in situ or Stage 0: After diagnosis, if you are told to undergo stage 0, it means you are at the onset of the gastric cancer. At this stage, the tumor starts to develop in the inner wall of your stomach. The cancer cells are not spread into the nearby structures and are restricted to the inner layer only. Diagnosing a stomach cancer at this stage is a fairly tricky task for the doctors as well.
Stage 1 gastric cancer:
It is divided in to two stages:
Stage 1a can be represented as: T1, N0, M0
Stage 1b can be represented as: T1, N1, M0 or T2, N0, M0
Stage 2 gastric cancers:
It is divided in to two stages:
Stage 2a can be represented as: T1, N2, M0 or T2, N1, M0 or T3, N0, M0
Stage 2b can be represented as: T1, N3, M0 or T2, N2, M0 or T3, N1, M0 or T4a, N0, M0
Stage 3gsatric cancer:
This stage can be divided into three sub stages i.e. a, b and c.
Stage 3a can be represented as: T2, N3, M0 or T3, N2, M0 or T4a, N1, M0
Stage 3b can be represented as: T3, N3, M0 or T4a, N2, M0 or T4b, N0 to 1, M0
Stage3 c can be represented as: T4a, N3, M0 or T4b, N1 to 2, M0
Stage 4 gastric cancers:
This is the advanced stage of cancer, in which the cancer cells are spread into the other body organs and structures through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. This stage of cancer can be notified as any T any N, M1.
The spread of your cancer can be described by the above the mentioned gastric cancer stages. This staging also helps the doctor to decide an appropriate treatment that will work on you precisely.