Once diagnosed with stomach cancer, tests are performed to see exactly what stage the cancer is. This includes a process of testing to determine if cancer cells have spread within the stomach or to other areas of the body. There are a few different tests that can be performed during the staging process. These tests can include:
· Endoscopy (EGD)
· Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
· PET scan (positron emission tomography scan)
· CT scan (CAT scan)
These tests are performed because stomach cancer can spread throughout the body, primarily through three different ways: through the lymph system, blood, or tissue.
The following are the diagnosis stages of gastric, or stomach, cancer.
Stage 0: This is when abnormal cells are found in the innermost layer of the lining of the stomach, also known as the mucosa. These cells may eventually turn in to cancer cells and spread to other areas. This stage can also be referred to as carcinoma in situ.
Stage 1: This is the first stage at which the cancer has fully formed inside the mucosa. Stage 1 is divided into two different stages, each one dependent upon where the cancer has spread.
Stage 1A: In this stage, it is possible that the cancer has spread into the next layer of lining in the stomach wall, also known as the submucosa.
Stage 1B: Here, cancer has either spread to the muscle layer of the stomach wall or could have spread into the submucosa. If spread into the submucosa, it may be found in 1 or 2 lymph nodes in the area closest to the tumor.
Stage II: Again, there are two subcategories in stage II, depending upon where the cancer has spread.
Stage IIA: Here the cancer could have spread to three possible locations: the muscle layer of the stomach and 1 or 2 lymph nodes, the submucosa, or the submucosa and 3 to 6 lymph nodes nearest the tumor.
Stage IIB: Here there are four possible locations for the cancer. They are the muscle layer of the stomach wall along with 3 to 6 lymph nodes, the outermost layer of the stomach wall (serosa), the submucosa and 7 or more lymph nodes, or the subserosa and 1 or 2 lymph nodes.
Stage III: Stage III can be divided into three different categories depending on where the cancer has spread.
Stage IIIA: There are three possibilities in this stage. They are the muscle layer of the stomach wall with a minimum of 7 lymph nodes, the serosa and 1-2 lymph nodes, or the subserosa in addition to 3-6 lymph nodes.
Stage IIIB: In this stage, the cancer could have spread to three locations including the serosa and 3-6 lymph nodes, the subserosa and a minimum of 7 lymph nodes, or close organs including, but not limited to, the pancreas, kidneys, small intestine, and spleen.
Stage IV: For the cancer to get to this stage it means that is has spread to other, more distant parts and areas of the body.