Cancer Staging

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Cancer can simply be described as the unchecked abnormal growth of cells in any part of an organism body. Currently, the disease is among the leading causes of death in the world and there are concerns that it will continue causing harm because of the limited progress reported by scientists working on its cure. Literally, cancer has no specified causes and anything that can cause a normally growing cell to grow abnormally is capable of causing the illness. Once a cell exhibits an abnormal growth, it will then infiltrate the normal body tissues as cancer cells and lodge on different organs spreading the disease further. The malignant cells are usually expected to die after their system is damaged. However, the unrepaired cells in most cases are resilient and will continue to live even after they become infected. In such cases, the cells will become typical cancer cells and will start growing uncontrollably. Some of the cells will break away from the developed masses of cancer cells and are transported through the blood or any other transport system in the body and settles in healthy organs of the body. From their new location, the tumor cells will then begin the uncontrolled growth cycle. The cycle does not end and forms a metastatic spread which if not managed, leaves no normal cell behind. Cancer is not only for human beings but to all living organisms. Any part of the body can be affected by cancer; which is the reason there are many different types of cancer usually named after the part affected.

Cancer as a Leading Cause of Mortality

Cancer is arguably the leading cause of mortality in the world. According to WHO, cancer accounts for about 22% of all death experienced globally. Without a clearly defined remedy, cancer related deaths are expected to increase by at least 70% in the year 2030 ("Important Facts About Cancer Pain Treatment", 2001). As at now, a majority of cancer patients succumb to death due to the complexity and the costly nature of cancer treatment plans. Many people affected by cancer are not financially able to sponsor the multiple high-end therapies that must be completed for one to recover. Even with increased awareness and sensitization, cancer remains to be a nightmare in society whose solution seems unachievable. The significant influencers of cancer incidence include age, gender, genetics, diet, race and the prevailing environment conditions. It is some of the factors named above that explain the reason why different types of cancer are predominantly prevalent in specific regions. For instance, stomach cancer is dominant in japan whereas, such type of cancer is not found in the U.S. Possibly, stomach cancer is found in japan because the diets and the genes of the locals there predispose its occurrence ("Important Facts About Cancer Pain Treatment", 2001).


Experts indicate that diagnosing cancer at its earliest stage provides the best chances for cure (Lilja & Lilja, 2010). Therefore, people are advised to frequently visit cancer screening centers so that they may be able to denote the illness at its early stages for better chances of curing. Upon realization that a person has cancer, doctors have a wide range of approaches from which they select the best treatment plan. The disease can be treated using surgery, special therapies, or synthetic lethality (Lilja & Lilja, 2010). The choice of diagnosis depends on the part of the body affected, cancer stage and the general health status of patient under examination. The ultimate aim of health practitioners involved in the treatment of cancer is the complete removal of the tumor cells to prevent further growth of unrepaired body cells (Voelker, 2017). With the primary aim of curbing the spread of malignant cells, doctors will carry out unlimited surgeries and chemotherapies on the patient’s body. However, the propensity of cancer cells limits the efforts of mutilating the abnormal cells and as an alternative, doctors often deviate from their curative intent to a more palliative oriented practice. Their aim will then be suppressing the effects of the disease so that the patient will have a normal life free of pain.


The cancer stage is very essential in the treatment of cancer. Doctors must first determine the stage a cancer patient is before they begin the treatment process. The staging helps describe the nature and location of the tumor and will thus enhance treatment (Lilja & Lilja, 2010). Usually, cancer stage is based on the extent to which the tumor has spread or how large it is. Diagnostic systems are normally used to test the cancer stage where a full analysis of the condition can only be achieved after all the tests are conducted. The famous staging system that can be used for numerous types of cancer is the TNM staging system. The system reports the size and extent of main tumor, the number of nearby lymph nodes affected, and the metastatic state of the tumor. The TNM system groups cancer into five stages, stage 0, I, II, III and stage IV (Lilja & Lilja, 2010). Stage 0 means that the abnormal cells are present in the body but they have not metastasized. Stage I through stage II to stage III implies that cancer is present and the higher the stage number, the larger the tumor and the more it has spread. Lastly, stage IV shows that the cancer cells have widely spread to distant cells. The staging information is very crucial in the management of cancer and thus, it must be addressed fully.

Complications of Cancer

As noted earlier, the cancer treatment is rigorous and as a result, the disease alongside its treatment can cause complications to the patient. The first obvious and inevitable complication is pain (Voelker, 2017). Although not all type of cancers are painful, cancer and its related treatment can cause pain to the patient. The multiple therapies are subject to causing major and minor injuries to the patient’s nerve system with long lasting effects. Whereas some of the pain caused might be treated and contained, some of the pain might persist even after being treated during the cancer therapies. Indeed, certain drugs administered might be the cause of the pain and will hence have to be withdrawn during treatment. Some patients can even fail to recover from the damage caused by the treatment protocols. Apart from the pain caused by the treatment, cancer itself might cause pain as cells rapture during metastasis. Other side effects of cancer treatment include weight loss, fatigue, breathing difficulties, chemical change in patient’s body, and brain and nervous system complications.

Psychological Impact

During the treatment of cancer, a patient is bound to undergo numerous tests and therapies that will definitely cause physical harm and suffering. The side effects cause discomfort that combines with the newly acquired hospitalized life to give the patient psychological distress. Many patients are unable to accept their new status and as they move from one therapy to another, their psychology is continuously affected making it hard for them to live a normal life. As a result, cancer patients risk acquiring depression or other mental disorders inspired by psychological distress (Voelker, 2017). Therefore, it is important for non-cancer patients to have regular cancer screening as one way of detecting the disease early. The earlier cancer is diagnosed, the higher the chances of treating the illness. Doctors should be efficient in diagnosing and treating cancer with amicable decisions being made swiftly before the situation worsens. In addition, patients need to be aware of the effects associated with cancer treatment and ideally, they should be ready for the changes expected to take place in their bodies.


Important facts about cancer pain treatment. (2001). Ca: a cancer journal for clinicians, 51(6), 365-366. Http://

Lilja, h., & lilja, d. (2010). Early diagnosis and staging. Prostate cancer and prostatic diseases, 2(s1), 15-18. Http://

Voelker, r. (2017). Precision approach in cancer care. Jama, 318(1), 20. Http://

October 13, 2023




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