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Stages of Anal Cancer


    When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

    The following stages are used for anal cancer:

    Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)

    In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in the innermost lining of the anus. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.

    Pea, peanut, walnut, and lime show tumor sizes.

    Stage I

    In stage I, cancer has formed and the tumor is 2 centimeters or smaller.

    Stage II

    In stage II, the tumor is larger than 2 centimeters.

    Stage IIIA

    In stage IIIA, the tumor may be any size and has spread to either:

    • lymph nodes near the rectum; or
    • nearby organs, such as the vagina, urethra, and bladder.

    Stage IIIB

    In stage IIIB, the tumor may be any size and has spread:

    • to nearby organs and to lymph nodes near the rectum; or
    • to lymph nodes on one side of the pelvis and/or groin, and may have spread to nearby organs; or
    • to lymph nodes near the rectum and in the groin, and/or to lymph nodes on both sides of the pelvis and/or groin, and may have spread to nearby organs.

    Stage IV

    In stage IV, the tumor may be any size and cancer may have spread to lymph nodes or nearby organs and has spread to distant parts of the body.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: February 25, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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