Lymphoma Cancer Stages

Once lymphoma cancer has been diagnosed, doctors will work swiftly to determine how severe the condition is for the patient. This is done through the use of stages.

Due to the different nature of Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the stages for both types of the condition are not the same. However, they do resemble distinct similarities, with both representing four different points in the timeline and both also using the “Ann Arbor System” of staging.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stages

As stated above, non-Hodgkin’s sufferers can be placed into one of four possible stages:

  • Stage I
    To be placed into this stage, a patient of the cancer has to satisfy at least one of two possible issues. The first is that the lymphoma must occur in just one region of the body, such as the neck for example. The other is that lymphoma can only be found in one organ outside of the lymph system.
  • Stage II
    If a patient has been placed into Stage II, it means that their condition is slightly more severe. Just like in the previous stage a patient has to have one of two possible requirements. The first is that the cancer must be affecting two or more lymph mode groups that are on the same side of the diaphragm. The second issue is that the cancer must have extended from a single group of lymph nodes into a nearby organ.
  • Stage III
    Just like in previous stages, two requirements have to be met again here. Instead of just being discovered on one side of the diaphragm, lymph nodes can be found on both sides. The second part is that the lymphoma has spread into an area next to the lymph nodes or into the spleen.
  • Stage IV
    This is the most serious stage and again, one of two requirements have to be made for a patient to be classified. The first is that the lymphoma has spread outside of the lymph system and into an organ that is not close to an affected lymph node. The other is that the cancer has now spread to areas such as the spine, bone marrow, brain or liver.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stages

There are also four stages of Hodgkin’s lymphoma although there are fewer requirements for each stage and overall, the process is defined much simpler.

  • Stage I
    This stage just involves one lymph node being affected.
  • Stage II
    At least two lymph nodes must be affected, with both occurring on the same side of the diaphragm.
  • Stage III
    The cancer is more serious at this point, with the lymph nodes now appearing on both sides of the diaphragm.
  • Stage IV
    At its most serious stage, the cancer will now have spread to other organs outside of the lymph system.

Other Terminology Used in Staging

While both types of lymphoma cancer use slightly different staging methods, both use terminology that is the same. There are four other terms that are commonly used by doctors in relation to the cancer:

  • Stage A
    The letter ‘A’ is used during stage discussions if the patient does not suffer from any symptoms of the cancer.
  • Stage B
    Alternatively, if the patient does suffer from symptoms, the letter ‘B’ will be used.
  • Progressive
    This term is used if the cancer is continuing to advance while the patient is receiving treatment.
  • Recurrent
    This term means that the cancer has returned following at least one period of treatment.

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