What Is Esophageal Carcinoma Staging?
After esophageal cancer is diagnosed, the doctor will try to figure out if it has spread within the esophagus or to other parts of the body. This process is staging. You can take the following tests and procedures to determine your cancer stage:
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- CT scan (CAT scan)
- PET scan (positron emission tomography scan)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Ultrasound exam
The stage of esophageal carcinoma ranges from stage 0 to stage IV (4). The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread (see pictures below).
In addition, the staging system most often used for esophageal cancer is the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) TNM system.
- T stands for the extent or size of th tumor.
- N stands for the spread to nearby lymp nodes.
- M represents the spread or metastasis to distant sites.
Numbers or letters after T, N, and M provide more details about each of these factors. Higher numbers mean the cancer is more advanced.
Another system that can affect your treatment is the grade of your cancer.
The number used for grading esophagus cancers is from 1 to 3.
- GX: The grade cannot be assessed.
- Grade 1 means the cancer cells look more like normal esophagus tissue.
- Grades 2 falls somewhere in between G1 and G3.
- Grade 3 means the cancer cells look very abnormal.
The grade is often simplified as either low grade (G1) or high grade (G3).
It’s important to know that esophageal cancer staging can be complex. If you have any questions about the stage of your cancer, please ask your doctor for thorough explanation.
Keywords: esophageal carcinoma staging