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What is the AJCC staging system?

Juliet Wilkinson
Oncology Nursing
The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging system is one of the most widely accepted tools that physicians use to grade your cancer. It uses a combination of letters (TNM) and numbers (0-4) to describe the size, severity and spread of your cancer. The system creates a universal language so that every caregiver will understand your cancer quickly. For example, if you are diagnosed with lung cancer, a TNM staging of T1N2MO is a succinct way of stating that your lung cancer is less than 3cm (T1 refers to the size), has spread to 2 lymph nodes (N2), with no metastasis to other organs (M0).
Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The AJCC staging system is a system developed by the American Joint Committee on Cancer for describing the extent of cancer in a patient's body. The descriptions include TNM:

T describes the size of the tumor and if it has invaded nearby tissue. N describes any lymph nodes that are involved. M describes metastasis (spread of cancer from one body part to another). This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.