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Staging and grading

Staging is a way of describing or classifying a cancer based on the extent of cancer in the body. The stage is often based on the size of the tumour, whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) from where it started to other parts of the body and where it has spread. Stages are based on specific factors for each type of cancer.

Grading is a way of classifying cancer cells. The pathologistpathologist1. The study of disease, including causes, development and effects on the body. 2. The symptoms, processes or conditions of a disease. gives the cancer a grade based on how different they look from normal cells (differentiation), how quickly they are growing and dividing, and how likely they are to spread. Doctors sometimes use the grade of the cancer to figure out how slowly or quickly the cancer may be growing.

Different staging and grading systems are used for different cancers. Some types of cancer do not have a specific staging or grading system.

The doctor uses the stage and grade of the cancer, as well as other factors, to help plan treatment, estimate how the cancer might respond to treatment and give a prognosis (the expected outcome or course of a disease).


photo of Mathieu At the end of the day, Mathieu gave me a big hug and left with a smile on his face.

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Facing the financial burden of cancer

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The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.

Learn more