Identifying the stage and grade of a cancer means your doctor can advise on the best course of treatment for you. It also describes the cancer in a common language which is useful when your doctor is discussing your case with other doctors or healthcare professionals.

The stage of cancer is measured by how much it has grown or spread which can be seen on the results of your tests and scans. The results from a biopsy can tell what grade the cancer is.

Grade

  • Low-grade means the cancer cells are slow-growing, look quite similar to normal cells, are less aggressive, and are less likely to spread
  • Intermediate-grade means the cancer cells are growing slightly faster and look more abnormal
  • High-grade means that the cancer cells are fast growing, look very abnormal, are more aggressive and are more likely to spread

Stage

  • Stage 1 means the cancer is low grade, small (less than 5cm) and has not spread to other parts of the body
  • Stage 2 means the cancer is of any grade, usually larger than grade one but has not spread to other parts of the body
  • Stage 3 means a high grade cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body
  • Stage 4 means a cancer of any grade or size that has spread to any other part of the body