There are several ways to determine the stages of liver cancer
The first thing you need to know is that your doctor may use one of the several liver cancer staging methods. This article will cover two of those methods: the TNM staging (stages 1 – 4) and The Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) system.
The TNM staging stands for tumor, nodes, and metastasis. Generally, this staging system aims to determine:
- Tumor: How many tumors are there? What about its size and location? Has it reached nearby structures?
- Nodes: Has cancer reached nearby lymph nodes or not?
- Metastasis: Has cancer reached distant lymph nodes? Has it affected other organs such as the bones?
On the other hand, the BCLC system categorizes liver cancer stages based on the symptoms present, characteristics of the tumor, liver function, and performance status.
Please note that, for the doctor to complete the staging process, you need to undergo several tests.
TNM Stages of liver cancer
Many of us are familiar with the TNM stages of cancer. We understand that the higher the stage is, the more the cancer has spread. But what exactly happens during each liver cancer stage?