In the last blog we spoke about surviving stage 4 cancer. First, we look at what survivorship means… to you. Now, lets take a look at what “Stage 4 Cancer” means in stage 4 breast cancer, stage 4 lung cancer, stage 4 prostate cancer, etc., I know this should go without saying, but this is only applicable, if you do have a cancer diagnosis.
The “STAGE” is the sum total of 3 components used to describe cancer and how aggressive it may be behaving. In many cases (not all) Cancer Stage is described by T-N-M. Once a cancer diagnosis is made, your doctors will order lots of tests (blood work, CT scan, PET-CT, biopsies, etc.,) to determine your T-N-M and eventually your overall stage. Why? Because ALL treatment recommendations are based on the stage of the cancer. A Stage I cancer is treated differently from a stage III cancer, which is treated differently from a stage IV cancer. Treatment may be surgery alone, or chemotherapy alone, radiation therapy alone, various combination of these three common treatments, or all 3 may be recommended!
T-N-M is used to describe most cancer and provide a common language for doctors and researchers to communicate about cancer. Once the T-N-M is known, they can be placed in groups called STAGE. It is like a math problem: T+N+M = Group Stage (I, II, III or IV). First, let’s talk about T-N-M.
Take a look at this FREE video course on skin and colon cancer to get a better understanding of staging using the TNM stage.
Stage IV cancer can only be diagnosed after certain tests are done. Specifically, your oncology team will be looking to see if the cancer spread elsewhere. They may request bone scans, MRI, PET-CT scans, etc., Know that sometimes, stage 4 cancer can be in the same organ, but on a different side, as in lung cancer.
Here are two examples of using the T-N-M stage to get to Stage IV
As you can see, there is much to consider when staging cancer. The treatment recommendations will also be different, based on the type of cancer. Many are living with stage 4 cancers for many years. A diagnosis of stage 4 cancer is not always the end of the road. Be an advocate for yourself and ask your cancer team questions. In our next blog, we will continue to peel away at the many layered question of “What is Stage IV Cancer?” Stay tuned.
Until next time know that,
Life is beautiful and God is awesome. And know, you are pure awesomeness!
Ipsa Scientia Potestas est ——— Knowledge itself is power!
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Queen, Your Family Friendly Cancer Doc!
Category: After Treatment, Cancer Survivor, Uncategorized Tags: Bladder cancer, bladder cancer stages, Brain Metastases, cancer spread to the brain, cancer spread to the liver, cancer spread to the lung, cancer stage, cancer staging, liver metastases, lung metastases, stage 4 bladder cancer, stage 4 brain cancer, stage 4 breast cancer, stage 4 cancer, stage 4 cervical cancer, stage 4 endometrial cancer, Stage 4 lung cancer, stage 4 prostate cancer, stage 4 tongue cancer, TNM