Review: Introduction to Summary Staging

In Introduction to Summary Staging, we learned the concept of staging. In brief, staging is a shorthand method for describing extent of disease. It is a common language developed by medical professionals to communicate information about cancer to others.

The related terms such as "extent of disease" and "classification" and their relationship to staging were also briefly discussed. Classification is an orderly arrangement showing relationships among groups. Extent of disease is a type of classification and pertains to an individual case. Staging translates extent of disease classification about individual cancers into groups that can be studied or evaluated for prognostic significance.

Several reasons for staging mentioned in this section are:

  • Staging is a guide in making decisions about treatment: to help decide what treatment would most favorably alter the natural course of disease;
  • Staging is a factor in evaluating prognosis of a particular case by comparing it to similar cases; and
  • Staging is a mechanism for comparing the results of different therapeutic procedures or data generated by (observed by) different institutions.


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