What is Cancer Staging?
Cancer staging typically explains the severity of a person's cancer. By knowing the stage of the cancer the phyisican will be able to determine how far it has spread, be able to plan treatment and estimate the patient's prognosis. Staging cancer has helped doctors learn more about cancer. The staging system is based upon how large the tumor or tumors are and where they have spread. Testing such as physical exams, imaging, laboratory tests and pathology reports. Staging is based upon how or the way that cancer progresses. As these cells grow and divide a mass known as a tissue is formed. As this tumor grows it may begin to spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. This form of stage 4 cancer spreading is known as metastasis.
How cancer stages are determined:
- Where the primary tumor is located
- Size and number of tumors
- How closely the tumor cells look like typical tissue cells
- Cell type
- Presence of cell dividing
What Tests are Used to Determine Stages of Cancer?
- Physical exams
- Laboratory tests
- What is found during surgery
- Pathology reports
What is Stage 4 Cancer?
Stage 4 cancer is simple a level of how far that particular type of cancer has progressed. During stage 4 cancerous tumors can be of any size and may have metastasized. When the cancer has metastasized in stage 4 the cancer has spread to other lymph nodes, skin bones, liver, brain or lungs. A stage four cancer diagnosis can be rather life-changing however, there are a variety of treatments. After the stage is determined an oncologist will determine the rate at which the cells are dividing. This will help the doctor determine how quickly it is spreading, where it is located and the proper treatment. Stage 4 cancer is considered to be one of the last stages of cancer, however it is not a death sentence.
What are the Types of Treatment?
- Chemotherapy is one of the most popular treatments, however it does have serious side effects. Some of the seid effects include: anemia, changes in appetite, dirarrhea, fatigue, hair loss, infection, constipation, nerve changes, infertility in men and women.
- Radiation therapy
- Proton therapy allows for around seven treatments where x-rays are fired at the desired tumor. This particular therapy works by decreasing the amount of dividing as well as the amount of tumors.
- Biological therapy
- Bone marrow transplant
- Target cancer therapy
- Photodynamic therapy for cancer
- Angiogenesis inhibitors
- Gene therapy
Symptoms of Cancer
The symptoms of cancer will vary by stage, type and the sex of the patient. Prevention is the key to living a long and healthy life. It is very important to attend yearly physicals as they can help predict and discover diseases. Cancer studies have shown that those who exercise daily and eat healthy are typically more resistant to cancer. However, there is a percentage of cancer that is environmental and related to genetics.
- Persistent cough
- Change in bowel movements
- Blood in stool
- Unexplained lumps
- Change in urination
- Blood in urine
- Unexpected weight loss
- Night sweats
- Itching in anal or genital area
- Sores that don't heal
- Back pain
- Nohealing sores
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