** Staging is the process of finding out how much cancer is in a person’s body and where it’s located. It’s how the doctor determines the stage of a person’s cancer.
^^ For most types of cancer, doctors use staging information to help plan treatment and to predict a person’s outlook (prognosis). Although each person’s situation is different, cancers with the same stage tend to have similar outlooks and are often treated the same way. The cancer stage is also a way for doctors to describe the extent of the cancer when they talk with each other about a person’s cancer.
==> WHY IS STAGING NEEDED ? ** Doctors need to know the amount of cancer and where it is in the body to be able to choose the best treatment options. For example, the treatment for an early-stage cancer may be surgery or radiation, while a more advanced-stage cancer may need to be treated with chemotherapy. Doctors also use a cancer’s stage to help predict the course it will likely take.
** In a larger sense, doctors use staging information when they’re studying cancer treatments. It allows researchers to make sure study groups are actually similar when they test cancer treatments against one another, measure outcomes, and more.
** Not all cancers are staged. For example, leukemias are cancers of the blood cells and therefore spread throughout the body. Most types of leukemias aren’t staged the way cancers that form tumors are.
==> HOW ARE CANCERS STAGED ? ** Doctors use different types of exams and tests to figure out a cancer’s stage. Depending on where the cancer is located, the physical exam may give some clue as to how much cancer there is. Imaging tests like x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasound, and PET scans may also give information about how much and where cancer is in the body.
** A biopsy often is needed to confirm a cancer diagnosis. Biopsies might also be needed to find out if an abnormal spot seen on an imaging test is really cancer spread. During a biopsy, the doctor removes a tumor or pieces of a tumor to be looked at under a microscope. Some biopsies are done during surgery. But with many types of biopsies, the doctor removes small pieces of tumor through a thin needle or through a flexible lighted tube called an endoscope..
To read more click on the link http://www.cancer.org/tr…/understandingyourdiagnosis/staging