Stages of Esophageal Cancer
There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.
The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:
- Through tissue. Cancer invades the surrounding normal tissue.
- Through the lymph system. Cancer invades the lymph system and travels through the lymph vessels to other places in the body.
- Through the blood. Cancer invades the veins and capillaries and travels through the blood to other places in the body.
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 esophageal cancer:
As esophageal cancer progresses from Stage 0 to Stage IV, the cancer cells grow through the layers of the esophagus wall and spread to lymph nodes and other organs.
Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)
In stage 0, abnormalcells are found in the innermost layer of tissue lining the esophagus. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 is also called carcinoma in situ.
In stage I, cancer has formed and spread beyond the innermost layer of tissue to the next layer of tissue in the wall of the esophagus.
Stage II esophageal cancer is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, depending on where the cancer has spread.
- Stage IIA: Cancer has spread to the layer of esophageal muscle or to the outer wall of the esophagus.
- Stage IIB: Cancer may have spread to any of the first three layers of the esophagus and to nearby lymph nodes.
In stage III, cancer has spread to the outer wall of the esophagus and may have spread to tissues or lymph nodes near the esophagus.
Stage IV esophageal cancer is divided into stage IVA and stage IVB, depending on where the cancer has spread.
- Stage IVA: Cancer has spread to nearby or distant lymph nodes.
- Stage IVB: Cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes and/or organs in other parts of the body.