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What are The Stages of Liver Cancer

After the liver cancer is diagnosed, doctors will try to determine if it has spread to other parts of the body called staging. What are the stages of liver cancer show how much cancer exists in the body and it gives the idea of how serious the liver cancer has developed and the best treatment that suit the stage.

Liver cancer stages are determined from I to IV. The lower number indicates the less spread of cancer on the body. The higher the stage, the more parts of the body that have been affected by cancer. Each person may undergo a different cancer experience but the same cancer stages incline to give a similar outlook.

What are the stages of liver cancer

What Are the Stages of Liver Cancer and Their Meanings?

Several staging systems are used to determine the level of liver cancer but not all doctors use the same system. The majority of doctors in the US use the TNM system by the American Joint Committee on Cancer. This staging system determines how serious cancer is based on 3 key factors:

  • T refers to the extent of the tumor or size. This category covers how large the cancer growth is, the number of the tumor, and its effects on the nearby structures.

  • N refers to the spread of the tumor to close lymph nodes. This category defines if cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes.

  • M refers to the spread of metastasis to distant areas. This category describes if cancer has spread to distant organs or structures. Spread

To have more detailed information about liver cancer staging, doctors will conduct physical exams, biopsies, and imaging tests such as CT scans or ultrasound. Here is a more detailed explanation about what are the stages of liver cancer.

  • Stage  IA: (T1a N0 M0), it describes a single tumor with a size about 2 cm or smaller that hasn’t developed into a blood vessel (T1a). It hasn’t affected both the closest lymph nodes (N0) and distant organs (M0).

  • Stage IB: (T1b N0 M0), this stage describes a single tumor with a size bigger than 2 cm and hasn’t developed into the blood vessels. Although the tumor size is bigger than the previous stage it hasn’t already reached the closest lymph nodes (N0) and distant organs (M0).

  • Stage II: (T2 N0 M0), stage II can be a single tumor bigger than 2 cm that has developed into blood vessels or more than one tumor but isn’t bigger than 5 cm across (T2). Moreover, the effects of that tumor haven’t spread to the closest lymph nodes (N0) and distant organs (M0).

  • Stage IIIA: (T3 N0 M0), when reaches the third A stage, there will be more than one tumor developed and one of them is bigger than 5 cm across (T3). However, it hasn’t reached the closest lymph nodes (N0) and distant organs (M0).

  • Stage IIIB: (T4 N0 M0), the condition of cancer develops from the IIIA because one of the tumors has grown to emerge into the main branch of a large vein in the liver, either portal or hepatic vein (T4). Yet, it hasn’t approached the closest lymph nodes (N0) and distant organs (M0).

  • Stage IVA: (Any T N1 M0), this stage refers to either one or more tumors of any size (Any T) which already spread to closest lymph nodes (N1) but not to distant organs (M0).

  • Stage IVB: (Any T Any N M1), this last stage defines one or more tumors of any size (Any T) that might or might not affect the closest lymph nodes (Any N) but has reached to distant organs in the body, for instance, lungs or bones (M1).

Determining what are the stages of liver cancer earlier not only helps the doctor to determine the proper treatment but also prevents it develops worse. It helps to increase patient’s longevity.

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