Esophageal cancer

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Grading esophageal cancer

To find out the grade of esophageal cancer, the pathologist looks at a tissue sample from the tumour under a microscope. The pathologist gives esophageal cancer a grade from 1 to 3. The lower the number, the lower the grade.

The grade is a description of how the cancer cells look and act compared to normal cells. How different the cancer cells are is described as differentiation.

Low grade means that the cancers cells are well or moderately differentiated. They look and act much like normal cells. Lower grade cancer cells tend to be slow growing and are less likely to spread.

High grade means that the cancer cells are poorly differentiated or undifferentiated. They look and act less normal, or more abnormal. Higher grade cancer cells tend to grow more quickly and are more likely to spread.

Knowing the grade may give your healthcare team an idea of how quickly the cancer may be growing and how likely it is to spread. This helps them plan your treatment. The grade can also help the healthcare team predict how you might respond to treatment.

Stories

Brock Taraba Brock has been cancer free for over a decade, thanks to the support we received from the Canadian Cancer Society.

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Making progress in the cancer fight

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The 5-year cancer survival rate has increased from 25% in the 1940s to 60% today.

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