What Do the 5 Stages of Cancer Denote?


What Do the 5 Stages of Cancer Denote?

There is always a ray of hope even in the darkest of times, and you should always hold onto that hope to witness a better tomorrow. Cancer is one such disease that comes as a surprise and leaves you in distress. However, it is always possible to cure cancer if the cancer stage is known and gets diagnosed well in time. Stages of cancer help determine how much cancer has grown in a person’s body and where it is located, and this is how the doctor determines the stage of cancer. Doctors carry out tests to check whether it has grown into surrounding tissues or to other parts of the body. Staging also includes the grade of cancer that describes the similarity of the cancer cells to a normal cell. It becomes imperative to diagnose the stage of your cancer as it helps your doctor know the treatment you need. 

Doctors recommend a local treatment like surgery or radiotherapy if your cancer hasn’t spread anywhere else. Timely treatment can definitely help you get rid of cancer completely.

This blog will help you understand the 5 stages of cancer and what they denote.

Staging is the only way of determining the severity and type of your cancer. An early stage of cancer might respond well to radiation therapy or surgery after the right kind of diagnosis, whereas a later stage of cancer may respond to rigorous chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy.

Stages of Cancer

Medical experts use five different stages of cancer to describe the severity of most cancers. With the increased number, the severity of cancer also increases, and the survival chances decrease. Doctors will use several methods to classify and stage cancer after making a proper diagnosis.

Furthermore, not all cancers like Leukaemia have stages. Doctors do not stage leukaemia as it is a blood cancer. Cancer such as brain cancer also has different kind diagnosis.

Cancer is staged using a pattern of the TNM system:

  • Tumour, or the size of the tumour
  • Node, or if the cancer is spread in the lymph nodes
  • Metastasis, or if cancer has spread to parts of the body.

Let’s study about 5 stages of cancer in detail-

Stage 0 

Stage 0 cancer is when a health expert or doctor finds abnormal tissue that has not yet grown or spread to other areas of the body. This stage is also called carcinoma in situ.

When this stage is detected, the abnormal cells are not actually cancer, but they are a threat to become cancer if you don’t receive a timely diagnosis and treatment. Treatment usually requires the remotion of cancer cells and tissues surrounding it. However, there are maximum chances of survivability in stage 0 cancer if it is diagnosed early.

Stage 1 

Stage 1 cancer is the earliest stage of cancer when the tumour is minimal and hasn’t spread around the tissues and lymph nodes. It is limited to the place where it started. This stage is called the localized stage of cancer.

It is often treated with surgical removal or radiation therapy that removes cancerous cells from the infected area. It usually has a higher survival rate than advanced stages of cancer.

Stage 2

Stage 2 cancer usually indicates that the tumour has grown a little larger and spread into nearby tissue or lymph nodes. This stage is also called the regional stage of cancer, and its treatment may vary due to the type of cancer. Moreover, other factors like age and overall health may impact the treatment of the patient.

Treatment often involves radiation therapy or surgery for the removal of the tumour. The survival chances of a person with stage 2 cancer will vary according to their age, overall health, and the type of cancer. Stage 2 cancer is usually treatable if diagnosed in time and has a reasonably high survival chance.

Stage 3

Stage 3 cancer is more severe than 0-2 stages of cancer, as the tumour invades nearby tissues and affects lymph nodes. Cancer grows and spreads to distant parts of the body parts and makes them infected. This stage is referred to as the distant stage of cancer.

The diagnosis totally depends on the type of cancer, and treatment could get more intense than less severe stages.

As compared to the first three stages, Stage 3 cancer has a lower survivability rate. Moreover, a person's age and overall health have a substantial contribution to their chances of survival.

Stage 4 

Stage 4 cancer is the last and most severe stage when a tumour grows large and spreads to other body areas and organs. Medical experts recommend aggressive and intense treatments for people with stage 4 cancer. Treatment may slow down or stop cancer growth and help the person feel as comfortable as possible. This stage is usually called an unknown stage of cancer, as one can’t gather enough information to know the stage of cancer as it disperses widely in the body.

Doctors often opt for radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and surgery, and these treatments may vary according to age and the person’s overall health.

This stage usually has less favourable chances than the other stages of cancer.

You can also refer to the article stages of cancer for detailed information on the same.

>> Also read Can stress cause Cancer? Here is what you need to know


Staging is one of the essential diagnosis if you are found to have cancer, and you have to undergo the tests post-haste to stop cancer from spreading inside you. If you feel anything alarming and needs your attention, consult your healthcare provider at the earliest and begin your diagnosis. Early diagnosis of cancer saves thousands of lives and gives them the strength to live their life happily. 

Basic health insurance may not cover the treatment cost of Cancer. There will always be limitations in these plans, which may not allow you to avail of the treatment that caters you complete coverage of your cancer treatment. Care health insurance offers a comprehensive cancer insurance plan that covers the cost of the treatments/therapies related to Cancer. It is always wise to buy cancer insurance to give a safety cushion to your future. Check your policy document for the inclusions and exclusions.

Disclaimer: Underwriting of cancer claims is subject to policy terms and conditions.

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