Staging is a process that cancer specialists use to classify cancers. Endometrial cancer and uterine sarcoma are staged using two different staging systems.
Endometrial cancer is staged using the FIGO staging system, which classifies the cancer into five main stages based generally on:
- whether the cancer confined to the uterus
- whether the cancer has spread beyond the uterus to other pelvic organs, tissues or lymph nodes
- Whether the cancer has spread or metastasized to distant lymph nodes or organs
Uterine sarcoma is staged using a TNM system which assesses:
- the tumor’s (T) size
- whether the cancer has spread to any lymph nodes (N) and how many
- whether the cancer has spread or metastasized (M) to distant areas of the body, such as the bladder or colon.
With this information, your physician will classify your cancer into one of four or five main stages, with stage 0 being the smallest, early cancers to stage 4, which are advanced cancers that have spread to other areas.
Your cancer’s grade
In addition to the stage, your cancer will be assigned a grade, ranging from 1 to 3 which
refers to how different the tumor cells look compared to normal cells:
- Grade 1 cancer cells look similar to normal cells; these are often called low grade; they tend to grow slowly and are less likely to spread.
- Grade 2 cancer cells are intermediate, between grades 1 and 3. They look more abnormal, grow faster, and are more likely to spread than grade 1 cells, but not as much as grade 3 cells.
- Grade 3 cancer cells look very different from normal cells; these are called high grade; they grow faster and are most likely to spread.
The stage and grade of your cancer two important pieces of information your physician will use to determine the very best treatment options for you.