The article, “This is Exactly What the 4 Stages of Cancer Really Mean”, was published on April 27, 2019, via MSN.com and was written by Jane Bianchi. In the article, Dr. Mahdavi, a gynecologic oncologist and the Medical Director of the OB-GYN Clinic at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee, Wisconsin, discusses the reasoning behind the four stages of cancer. He explains, "The main purpose for staging is to evaluate the extent of cancer spread.”
The author of the article then goes on to explain that this evaluation, “gives the doctor information on how the disease is likely to progress over time, what symptoms to expect, what the survival rate is, and what some of the potential complications could be. Generally speaking, the earlier the stage of the cancer, the better the prognosis.”
The article takes the reader through the most widely-used cancer staging system, which is called the TNM classification system. This system, “assigns letters and numbers to the cancer to describe the tumor (T), the lymph nodes (N), and how much the cancer has metastasized (M). These individual evaluations help determine the overall stage of the cancer.”
It is important for the patient to understand the different stages of cancer because it can help them anticipate what type of care they need and what questions to ask their cancer care team.