Types and Stages of Esophageal and Stomach Cancer
Arriving at a cancer diagnosis can take a surprisingly long time. This is because there are many other diagnoses that must be considered and eliminated first; patients may need to undergo a series of tests or screenings to rule out other possibilities. Even once cancer is suspected, it must be precisely identified before any form of Phoenix esophageal and stomach cancer treatment can begin.
Cancer doctors use many technical terms to talk about each type of cancer, how far it has spread, and how long it has been growing. In the case of stomach cancer, a system of three categories is used. This is call the TNM system and was developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer. Each letter stands for a particular piece of information. Here is how the system is organized:
- T – This category indicates the size of the primary tumor and its growth
- N – This indicates if cancer can be found in the lymph nodes nearby
- M – This category refers to whether the primary tumor has metastasized and if so, to what degree
Each category is represented with a numerical value; higher numbers refer to more severe conditions. Your care team will refer to the TNM code throughout the treatment process. Because these values and other sets of data play an essential role in the identification of the best possible course of treatment, it is important to collect as much information as possible. Your doctor may spend time speaking with you about your personal health history and about the health history of your parents and first relatives.
Because stomach cancer often goes undetected for a long time, many patients diagnosed with esophageal or stomach cancer will be counseled to begin treatment at a Phoenix cancer center fairly soon. Often a combination of treatment options is recommended, including a surgical approach. The Phoenix CyberKnife and Radiation Oncology Center works with some of the most experienced providers so patients can benefit from their expertise. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for yourself or a loved one.