A brief summary of what staging is and how nasal cancer is graded.
What staging is
The stage of a cancer means how big it is and whether it has spread. It is important because the stage often decides the treatment. The tests and scans you have to diagnose cancer give some information about the stage. But your doctor may not be able to tell you the exact stage until you have surgery.
What TNM staging means
TNM stands for tumour, node and metastasis. The system describes:
- the size of a primary tumour (T) and how far it’s grown locally
- whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes (N)
- whether the cancer has spread in the bloodstream to a different part of the body (M)
The staging systems used by doctors
There are different ways of staging cancers. The 2 main ways are the TNM system and number classification system.
You may not be familiar with these terms but you can ask your doctor if you would like to know more.
Understanding your staging may show why your doctors have chosen a particular treatment.
The grade of a cancer tells you how different the cancer cells are from normal cells when looked at under a microscope. Generally speaking, there are 3 or 4 grades ranging from most like normal cells to least like normal.
Staging and grading of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers
Cancer can develop in the nose and nasal cavity or in any of the several pairs of sinuses. The cancer may then spread to nearby tissue, the lymph nodes or other parts of the body.
The staging of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers is extremely complicated. Staging systems have only been developed for maxillary sinus, ethmoid sinus cancer and nasal cavity cancer.
If you have cancer anywhere else in the sinuses your doctor will decide your treatment based on the size, location and type of the tumour you have.