Stages

If esophageal cancer is diagnosed, the doctor needs to know the stage, or extent, of the disease to plan the best treatment. Staging is a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body.

Stages of Esophageal Cancer

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ) - In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in the innermost layer of tissue lining the esophagus. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.

Stage I - In stage I, cancer has formed and spread beyond the innermost layer of tissue to the next layer of tissue in the wall of the esophagus.

Stage II - This stage is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, depending on where the cancer has spread.

Stage IIA: Cancer has spread to the layer of esophageal muscle or to the outer wall of the esophagus.
Stage IIB: Cancer may have spread to any of the first three layers of the esophagus and to nearby lymph nodes.

Stage III - In this stage, cancer has spread to the outer wall of the esophagus and may have spread to tissues or lymph nodes near the esophagus.

Stage IV - This stage is divided into stage IVA and stage IVB, depending on where the cancer has spread

Stage IVA: Cancer has spread to nearby or distant lymph nodes
Stage IVB: Cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes and/or organs in other parts of the body.

Knowing the stage assists the doctor in determining a prognosis. It also better helps you understand the care and treatment that will be required.

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