Staging is a way of describing or classifying a cancer based on the extent of cancer in the body. Extent includes the size of the tumour and where the cancer is in the body. Your healthcare team uses the stage to plan treatment and estimate your prognosis.
The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) system is the most widely accepted and used staging system for hepatocellular carcinoma. It considers the following:
|BCLC stage||Child-Pugh classification score||Tumour characteristics||ECOG score|
There is 1 tumour. It is 2 cm or less in size. It isn’t causing any symptoms.
The tumour has not grown into the blood vessels.
A or B
There are up to 3 tumours. They are all smaller than 3 cm in size. They aren’t causing any symptoms.
A or B
There are tumours in several areas of the liver (called multifocal disease). They aren’t causing any symptoms.
A or B
The tumour or tumours have grown into blood vessels or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. They are causing symptoms.
1 or 2
There is 1 or more tumours in the liver. They can be any size. They are causing symptoms.
The tumour may have grown into the blood vessels or the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
3 or 4
Recurrent liver cancer means that the cancer has come back after it has been treated. If it comes back in the same place where the cancer first started, it’s called local recurrence. If it comes back in tissues or lymph nodes close to the primary tumour, it’s called regional recurrence. It can also recur in another part of the body, which is called distant metastasis, or distant recurrence.