Sarcoma Cancer Stages

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Sarcoma Cancer Stages is a process to determine the location and extent of the sarcoma cancer in the body. This is important so as to facilitate the next process of proper treatment and medication. Sarcoma cancer is a type of cancer that affects the soft tissues and keeps growing without the knowledge of the person affected. Only when it becomes obvious and leaves the patient with persistent pain and abnormal swelling that the person awakens to realize that something has been amiss.

The person should fix an appointment with the physician immediately and start the treatment process. However, before embarking upon treatment the doctor needs to know the reach of the cancer in the patient's body. It is only after getting to know about the location, size and degree of the cancer that the physician would be able to prescribe proper medication. This is called staging and in order to find these facts the doctor has to first do some tests. The following tests are conducted to determine the staging of the sarcoma cancer in a person.

  • X-Ray: In an X-Ray high energy beam is directed to the affected body parts which goes deep inside and captures images of the area

  • Physical Test: It is conducted to understand the general health of the patient, any past family problems or study the cancer symptoms for sarcoma

  • Laboratory test: Laboratory tests are conducted after taking a few samples like blood, urine etc. The investigation helps diagnose the cause and plan the medication accordingly

  • CT Scan: In CT scan images of the affected body part are captured. These images taken from different angles helps to understand the size, location of the cancer in the affected body part

  • MRI Scan: Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses radio waves and magnet to capture images of the areas affected by sarcoma cancer

The various tests above help the doctor to ascertain the size of tumor, its reach in the body and accordingly staging is done. The system used to stage sarcoma cancer is known as TNM system of American Joint Committee on cancer.

In this TNM system T refers to size of the tumor, N for whether the tumor has reached other body parts or lymph nodes and M stands for Metastasis that is if the cancer has spread to other body parts beyond the place of origin. While soft tissue sarcoma has one extra aspect called G or Grade. This G refers to how likely it is for the cancer to grow and spread to lymph nodes or other body parts. The higher the grade more likely is the tumor to grow and spread to other body parts and the least the grade less likely it is to spread to distant parts of the body and expected more to be controlled. Different types of grades are as given below:

  • GX - This grade cannot be assessed
  • G1 - A score of 2 or 3 in the assessment
  • G2 - A score of 4 or 5 in the assessment
  • G3 - A score of 6 or beyond

    Staging of sarcoma cancer is as below:

    • Stage IA - The tumor is about 5 cm or smaller in size. It hasn't spread to lymph nodes or other body parts
    • Stage IIB - The tumor is about 5 cm or greater in size. It has not penetrated other body parts
    • Stage IIA - The tumor is 5 cm or smaller. It has not spread to other tissues
    • Stage IIB - The tumor is 5 cm or bigger in size. It has not reached other body parts
    • Stage III - Stage III sarcoma cancer can be explained as, either (i) The tumor is greater than 5 cm in size and has not spread to lymph nodes or distant parts beyond the point of origin or (ii) the tumor may be of any size and grade and has stretched to other parts of the body
    • Stage IV - In the stage IV the tumor may be of any size and grade. It is likely to have reached to other body parts or lymph nodes
The above mentioned stages form the staging of sarcoma cancer. This is what helps the physician to find the status of the tumor in the patient's body. Once staging is over it becomes easy to plan appropriate and best suited treatment for the affected person. Again the conclusions derived from the staging differ from person to person. So treatment would also be different accordingly, even if two persons are diagnosed with the same cancer.

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