Review: Introduction to Staging

Here is what we have learned from Introduction to Staging:

  • Staging is a common language developed by medical professionals to communicate information about a disease to others.
  • A short definition for staging is the grouping of cases into broad categories based on extent of disease.
  • Elements to be considered in any staging system are the primary tumor site, tumor size, multiplicity (number of tumors), depth of invasion and extension to regional or distant tissues, involvement of regional lymph nodes, and distant metastases.
  • Purpose of staging includes the following:
    • Understanding the extent of disease assists the physician determining the most appropriate treatment to cure the disease, decrease the tumor burden, or relieve symptoms.
    • Staging is also used to indicate prognosis.
    • Staging provides a means of comparing local institutional experience with national data.
  • According to the theory of cancer growth or the natural history of cancer, cancer originates in a single cell. The cell continues to divide and grow in the organ of origin, spreads to adjacent tissues or regional lymph node drainage areas, and then spreads to distant organs or structures.