Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Stages / Staging
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Video: Cancer StagingDr. Timothy McCay explains what the stages of cancer mean and how this information is determined. He also discusses why determining the stage of cancer is critical to treatment planning.
Dr. Timothy McCay explains what the stages of cancer mean and how this information is determined. He also discusses why determining the stage of cancer is critical to treatment planning.
In order to determine which non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) treatments will be best suited to you, your Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) NHL team will learn the stage (extent) and grade (growth rate) of the disease.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Grading
Grading NHL is important because it helps us understand the growth pattern and aggressiveness of the cancer cells. Your CTCA care team will determine whether the lymphoma is low grade (indolent or slow growth rate), intermediate grade (moderate growth rate) or high grade (aggressive or rapid growth rate).
It’s important to keep in mind that while aggressive NHL often requires more immediate and intensive treatment, the disease tends to respond well to treatment.
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Staging
NHL staging is the process of identifying the location of the tumor, the size of the tumor and whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. The Cotswold system (formerly the Ann Arbor Staging System) characterizes the stages of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by the number of lymph nodes involved and the regions affected by the cancer.
In earlier stages of NHL, the lymph nodes affected are all on one side of the diaphragm (the breathing muscle beneath the lungs). In contiguous lymphoma, the cancerous lymph nodes are next to each other. In non-contiguous lymphomas, the cancerous lymph nodes are not next to each other, but are on the same side of the diaphragm. In more advanced stages of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the disease may be on both sides of the diaphragm.
The Stages of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Early stages (stage I or II) of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are described by the number of lymph nodes the cancer has affected and the most advanced stage (stage IV) is characterized by the spread of the disease to other parts of the body.
The stages of NHL are as follows:
- Stage I Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The cancer is found only in a single region or organ, usually one lymph node and the surrounding area.
- Stage II Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The cancer is found in two or more lymph node regions on the same side of the diaphragm, either above or below it.
- Stage III Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The cancer is found in lymph nodes on both sides of the diaphragm.
- Stage IV Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: The cancer has spread to one or more tissues or organs outside the lymph system (e.g., liver, lungs, bones) and may be in lymph nodes near or far away from those organs.
- Recurrent: The cancer has returned in the lymph system or to other parts of the body after treatment.
Additional Staging Factors for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
In addition to the numerical NHL staging component, your team may also use the letters A, B, E and S to help describe the cancer. The letters A and B indicate the presence or absence of certain symptoms. The letters E and S refer to the spread of the disease beyond the lymph nodes.
- A & B - The letter B indicates the presence of one or more of the following symptoms: drenching night sweats, fever or unexplained weight loss. The letter A is used if there is no evidence of B symptoms.
- E & S - The letter E indicates the disease affects extranodal tissues or organs (areas outside of the lymph system). The letter S is used if the disease has spread to the spleen.
If the disease is considered “bulky” (greater than 10 cm in size), it is designated with an “X.”
Treatment Planning for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Once your team at CTCA knows the location, type, size, stage and grade of the disease, we can plan your NHL treatment. We’ll work closely with you to answer your questions about the non-Hodgkin lymphoma staging process and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs, lifestyle and personal preferences.
To learn more about CTCA cancer hospitals and the non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment options available to you, contact us at 1-800-615-3055 or Chat Now. We’re available 24 hours a day, every day of the week.
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