Cancer

Thyroid Cancer Stages

Cancer » Thyroid Cancer » Thyroid Cancer Stages

Thyroid cancer stages are attained by detecting the spread of malignant cells with tests. TNM (Tumor, Lymph nodes and Metastasis) gives an idea about the size to which the tumor has grown (T), whether the lymph nodes are affected (N) and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (M). The Numbering system ranges from stage I to IV and symbolizes the degree of damage done by the malignant cells.

The TNM staging system elaborated:

Examination of the Tumor (T):

T0 No tumor found.
T1 Size is almost 2cm in length.
T1a and T1b The size of the tumor ranges between 1cm and 2cm in length.
T2 The size of the tumor ranges between 2cm and 4cm in length.
T3 The size of the tumor exceeds 4cm length.
T4a and T4b The T4a implies that the tumor has spread into the larynx, esophagus and regions adjoining thyroid. T4b tumor implies that the cancer has started spreading into the bones or blood-vessels; it is one of the latter Thyroid cancer stages.
TX The malignancy of tumor cannot be examined.

Examination of Lymph nodes (L):

N0 The signs of metastasis in the lymph nodes are absent.
N1 Metastasis of lymph nodes is found.
N1a and N1b Metastasis of lymph nodes in the throat and upper chest and other areas of the neck.
NX The lymph node metastasis cannot be examined.

Examination of distant Metastasis (M):

M0 Distant Metastasis cannot be examined.
M1 Metastasis of various distant organs found.

The numbering staging method of Thyroid cancer stages is based on the cancer-type, namely

  • Papillary thyroid cancer
  • Follicular thyroid cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer

The numbering staging system elaborated:

Papillary or Follicular thyroid cancer in people < 45: These types of cancer can also be termed as differentiated thyroid cancer; young people have high chances of surviving this stage of cancer. It is staged as follows:

I: The size of tumor may vary with the lymph nodes being unaffected and no with no sign of distant metastasis i.e. with unspecific T and N but with distant metastasis M0.

II: The size of the tumor may vary and the lymph nodes are sparingly affected or aren't i.e. with unspecific T and N but with distant metastasis M1.

Papillary or Follicular thyroid cancer in people > 45:

Differentiated thyroid cancer for people over 45 years of age in some cases may prove to be fatal, though many have survived and continue to survive these thyroid cancer stages. It is staged as follows:

I: The size of the tumor hasn't exceeded 2cm in length and distant metastasis and metastasis of lymph nodes are not traceable i.e. T1, N0 and M0.

II: The size of the tumor has exceeded 2cms but hasn't exceeded 4cms in length, distant metastasis and metastasis of lymph nodes are not traceable i.e. T2, N0 and M0.

III: It has 2cases of which any one is applicable. The 2 cases are as follows:

Case 1: The size of the tumor has exceeded 4cms and distant metastasis and metastasis of lymph nodes are not traceable i.e. T3, N0 and M0.

Case 2: The tumor occupies more space than a T3 tumor and some cancer-affected lymph nodes are detected but with no sign of distant metastasis i.e. T3, N1 and M0.

IVA: It has 2 cases of which any one is applicable. The 2 cases are as follows:

Case 1: The tumor has crossed the boundaries of thyroid and penetrated regions of the neck with varying degrees of affected lymph nodes. The distant metastasis is still not in the picture i.e. it can be depicted as T4a, varying N and M0.

Case 2: The size of the tumor may vary from 2 cm to 4cm but the back of the throat is affected by the cancer. The distant metastasis is still not in the picture i.e. varying T, N1b and M0.

IVB: The cancer has started spreading into the bones or the blood-vessels, cancer has not spread into the lymph nodes and also the distant metastasis is not present i.e. T4b, varying N and M0.

IVC: The tumor size may vary and lymph nodes may or may not be affected. Distant metastasis is detected i.e. varying T, varying N and M1.

Medullary thyroid cancer:

Medullary thyroid cancer can be found in persons regardless of their age.

I: The size of the tumor hasn't exceeded 2cm in length and distant metastasis and metastasis of lymph nodes are not traceable i.e. T1, N0 and M0

II: It has 2 cases of which any one is applicable. The 2 cases are as follows:

Case 1: The size of the tumor has exceeded 2cms but hasn't exceeded 4cms in length, distant metastasis and metastasis of lymph nodes are non-traceable i.e. T2, N0 and M0.

Case 2: The size of the tumor has exceeded 4cms and distant metastasis and metastasis of lymph nodes are non-traceable i.e. T3, N0 and M0.

III: This particular stage in the thyroid cancer stages is fairly curable. The distant metastasis is still not in the picture i.e. it can be depicted as T4a, varying N and M0.

IVA: It has 2 cases of which any one is applicable. The 2 cases are as follows:

Case 1: The tumor has crossed the boundaries of thyroid and penetrated regions of the neck with varying degrees of affected lymph nodes. The distant metastasis is still not in the picture i.e. it can be depicted as T4a, varying N and M0.

Case 2: The size of the tumor may vary from 2 cm to 4cm but the back of the throat is affected by the cancer. The distant metastasis is still not in the picture i.e. varying T, N1b and M0.

IVB: The cancer has started spreading into the bones or the blood-vessels, cancer has not spread into the lymph nodes and also the distant metastasis is not present i.e. T4b, varying N and M0.

IVC: The tumor size may vary and lymph nodes may or may not be affected. Distant metastasis is detected i.e. varying T, varying N and M1.

Anaplastic (undifferentiated) thyroid cancer

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is an aggravated form of cancer and can be categorized as stage IV cancer.

The recurrent thyroid cancer doesn't come under the thyroid cancer stages. It is a relapse of any one of the cancer types mentioned above.

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