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Common References to Understand Different Bone Cancer Stages

The process of analyzing the severity of cancer is called staging. Various tests are conducted to reach to a conclusion to know the extent of cancer in the body. There are few popular methods to confirm cancer stages but the most common staging system for bone cancer is the TNM system. This is most widely used cancer staging system. Most hospitals and medical centers use the TNM system as their main method for cancer reporting normally mentioned in the pathology statement.

However no single system method can be used for all different types of cancer diseases. This is mainly due to uniqueness of each cancer type and varied health condition of the patients. Some of the cancers with different staging systems include brain and spinal cord tumors and blood cancers.

The International Union Against Cancer (UICC) uses the TNM system to describe the extent of many solid tumour cancers. These staging guidelines were developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). TNM stands for tumour, nodes and metastasis.

Bone cancer stages are based on the following categories:

(T)

 

 Describes the size of the primary bone tumor

 

 TX

 Primary (main) tumor cannot be assessed due to lack of information

 

 T0

 No evidence of primary tumour

 

 T1

 Tumour is 8 cm or less in size

 

 T2

  Tumour is larger than 8 cm in size

 

 T3

 Tumour is in more than one place on the same bone (called skip metastases)

 

(N)

 

Describes that cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. It specifies that bone cancer cells have spread to regional lymph nodes.

 

 NX

 Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed due to lack of information

 

 N0

 No regional lymph node metastasis

 

 N1

 Regional lymph node metastasis

 

(M)

 

 Distant metastasis. This means that cancer has spread to distant  areas of the body

 

 M0

 No distant metastasis

 

 M1 

 Distant metastasis

 

 M1a 

 Spread to the lung only

 

 M1b 

 Spread to other distant sites

 

 

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