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Published on May 21, 2016
Staging cancers is important to determine the prognosis of a patient and what treatment they might best benefit from. It is also vital to structuring research and developing guidelines for cancer treatment.
The most widely used system is the TNM system. T stands for tumour, and gives an impression of how large, or how locally invasive the primary tumour is.
N stands for node. This refers to the number of lymph nodes close to the tumour that are affected.
M stands for Metastases. If a tumour has spread and begins to form secondary tumours in other parts of the body it is said to have metastasised.
The number system (Stage I-IV) integrates information from the TNM system to come up with a simplified score.