Understanding cancer staging

Cancer staging is a way to describe how much cancer is in your body and where it is located in your body. Staging helps determine where the original tumor is, how big it is, whether it has spread, and where it has spread.

Cancer staging can help your health care provider:

  • Determine your prognosis (chance of recovery or likelihood the cancer will come back)
  • Plan your treatment
  • Identify clinical trials you may be able to join

Staging also gives providers a common language to use to describe and discuss cancer.

How Cancer is Staged

TNM Staging System

Assigning a Stage