How Cancer Is Staged

When a Connecticut patient is diagnosed with cancer, the diagnosis typically includes a specific stage. The stage that a patient’s cancer is in represents how severe the cancer is and how much it has spread in the patient’s body. Staging will help a doctor to create a treatment plan, estimate a prognosis and evaluate the results of treatment.

Every cancer is staged during the initial diagnosis, and some cancers may be staged again after a biopsy or surgery. Staging that is done before treatment is referred to as the clinical stage, and staging that is done after surgery is called the pathologic stage. A doctor will usually combine information from clinical staging and pathologic staging to determine a stage designation.

Once a cancer is staged, doctors will continue to refer to this stage even if the cancer changes. Some of the factors that doctors look at while staging include the site of the primary tumor, the size of the tumor, the number of tumors and lymph node involvement. Doctors also examine the tumor grade, or how closely the cancer cells resemble normal cells.

If a doctor makes mistakes in the initial diagnosis and staging of a patient’s cancer, the false information could cause problems for the patient later on. A patient who has been misdiagnosed with cancer or diagnosed with a type of cancer that they don’t have may undergo treatment that does more harm than good. When patients discover that they have been misdiagnosed, they may have already sustained injuries. A patient who has experienced this kind of misdiagnosis may want to have the assistance of an attorney in preparing and filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible health care professional or facility.