Read about the number stages of anaplastic thyroid cancer.
All anaplastic thyroid cancers are considered to be stage 4 when they are diagnosed. The stage is divided into 3 groups from A to C.
There is also a staging system called TNM.
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 4A means the tumour is smaller than 4cm across and is still within the thyroid gland. It hasn't spread to nearby lymph nodes or to other parts of the body (TNM staging T4a, N0, M0).
Stage 4B means the tumour is one of the following:
- is less than 4cm across, hasn't grown outside the thyroid gland and has only spread to nearby lymph nodes, but hasn't spread to other parts of the body (TNM staging T1-3a, Any N, M0)
- is any size and grown into the surrounding muscle, might have spread to the lymph nodes and hasn't spread to other parts of the body (T3b, any N, M0)
- is any size and has grown outside the thyroid, might have spread to the lymph nodes and hasn't spread to other parts of the body (T4, any N, M0)
Stage 4C means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (TMN staging, Any T, Any N, M1).
The stage of your cancer helps your doctor to decide which treatment you need. Treatment also depends on:
- your type of cancer (the type of cells the cancer started in)
- where the cancer is
- other health conditions that you have