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Stage 2

Find out what stage 2 stomach cancer means and about treatment options.

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and how far it’s spread. It helps your doctor decide which treatment you need.

There are 2 staging systems. Doctors can use a numbers system or the TNM system to stage your cancer.

TNM stands for tumour, node and metastasis: 

  • T describes the size of the tumour
  • N describes whether there are any cancer cells in the lymph nodes
  • M describes whether the cancer has spread to a different part of the body

Stage 2 is part of the number system and is divided into 2A and 2B.

Stage 2A

Stage 2A means one of the following:

  • the cancer is still within the lining of the stomach, but between 3 and 6 nearby lymph nodes contain cancer cells. This is the same as T1,N2, M0 in the TNM staging system
stomach cancer - stage 2a.png
  • the cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the stomach wall and is also in 1 or 2 nearby lymph nodes - this is the same as T2, N1, M0 
stomach cancer - stage 2a 1 .png
  • the cancer has grown into the outer layers of the stomach but there are no cancer cells in the lymph nodes - this is the same as T3, N0, M0
stomach cancer - stage 2a 2 .png

Stage 2B

Stage 2B means one of the following:

  • the cancer is within the lining of the stomach wall, but 7 or more lymph nodes contain cancer cells - this is the same as T1,N3, M0 in the TNM staging system
stomach cancer - stage 2b.png
  • the cancer has grown into the muscle layer of the stomach and between 3 and 6 lymph nodes contain cancer cells - this is the same as T2,N2,M0
stomach cancer - stage 2b 1 .png
  • the cancer has grown into the outer layer of the stomach and is also in 1 or 2 nearby lymph nodes - this is the same as T3, N1, M0
stomach cancer - stage 2b 2 .png
  • the cancer has grown through the outer lining but there are no cancer cells in nearby lymph nodes - this is the same as T4a, N0, M0 
stomach cancer - stage 2b 3 .png

Treatment

The stage of your cancer helps your doctor to decide what treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:

  • your type of cancer (the type of cells the cancer started in)
  • where the cancer is in your stomach
  • other health conditions

Surgery

Surgery is the one of the main treatments for stage 2 cancer.

If you’re fit enough for surgery

Your fitness for surgery depends on your general health and how well you are likely to recover.

You have surgery to remove part or all of your stomach. You usually have chemotherapy:

  • before surgery
  • after surgery

You may have chemotherapy or chemoradiotherapy after your operation if you haven’t had any treatment before your surgery.

If you aren’t having surgery

Other health problems might mean you can’t have surgery, or you may decide you don’t want it. You will have tests to check how fit you are before you have any treatment including heart and lung tests.

The main treatment is chemotherapy. You may have radiotherapy.

About other stages

Last reviewed: 
20 Jul 2016
  • AJCC Cancer Staging Manual (8th Edition)
    M Amin and S Edge.
    Springer, 2017.

  • Gastric cancer: ESMO-ESSO-ESTRO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up
    Waddell t. (and others)
    Annals of Oncology 24. 2013. (Supplement 6) vi57-vI63

  • Gastric cancer
    Custem EV. (and others)
    The Lancet, 2016. 5th May S0140-6736(16)30354-3

  • Guidelines for the management of oesophageal and gastric cancer
    Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, the British Society of Gastroenterology and the British Association of Surgical Oncology
    Allum (and others)
    Gut 2011;60:1449-1472

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