Staging of Stomach Cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute, staging is a method of determining the severity of cancer based on the size and/or extent of the original tumor and whether or not cancer has spread in the body. Once doctors know how far along the cancer is, they can decide on the best course of treatment. The staging process looks at the tumor and the extent to which it has spread to other parts of the body. There are a number of aspects to stomach cancer staging.

A simplified approach puts patients into six groups or stages based on how far the cancer has advanced:

Stage 0 Cancer has just begun to affect the inner stomach.
Stage I Cancer has begun to penetrate toward the outer layer of stomach. Nearby lymph nodes may be involved.
Stage II Cancer has progressed farther through tissue layers of stomach or more distant lymph nodes may be involved.
Stage III Cancer has penetrated all tissue layers of stomach or distant lymph nodes may be involved.
Stage IV Cancer has affected nearby organs and tissues. Cancer may even have been carried through the lymph system to distant parts of the body. This is known as metastasis.
Recurrent Patient with previous gastric cancer was cancer free, but cancer returned.

Other staging approaches evaluate the tumor and its location and behavior in greater detail or classify it based on the most likely type of treatment.

Publication Review By: Toomas Sorra, M.D., F.A.C.G.

Published: 14 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 06 Oct 2015