High Grade NeuroEndocrine Carcinoma of Ethmoid Sinus

Explanation Of Tumor, Node & Metastasis (TNM) Stages And Grades

When you are finally given your official cancer diagnosis it will have letters and numbers associated with it that tell surgeons, doctors, oncologists and others working in the nhs medical fields how bad your cancer really is in terms of it stage and grade.

As an example of the above, my official cancer diagnosis is as follows: T4bN2cM0 - High Grade - NeuroEndocrine Carcinoma of Ethmoid Sinus; which I will now breakdown the meanings of.

High Grade - Grade 3

When grading cancer there are three grades. Grade 1, which is Low Grade, means the ethmoid cancer cells look almost like normal ethmoid sinus cells whereas Grade 2, which is Intermediate Grade, means the ethmoid cancer cells only look slightly similar to normal ethmoid sinus cells. And Grade 3, which is High Grade, means the ethmoid cancer cells look abnormal and nothing like normal ethmoid sinus cells.

If you see the word 'Differentiation' within your diagnosis letter it just means how well developed or poorly the ethmoid cancer cells have become in terms of their structure, complexity and maturity. Together with the cancer grading, it tells medical professionals how your cancer cells (cancer) are behaving (i.e. aggressively, fast growing and/or spreading to other parts of your body) and how they are likely to behave under chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy for example.

The TNM Stages - THE TUMOUR (CANCER GROWTH)

The tumour stage is split into four categories (or stages) known as T1, T2, T3 and T4; which tell medical professionals whether or not your cancer (tumour growth) has spread into surrounding organs and/or into other parts of the body.

T1 means your cancer (tumour growth) has stayed within the ethmoid sinus area only, but it may have grown into the bones of that ethmoid sinus area.

T2 means your cancer (tumour growth) has begun growing inside neighbouring sinus areas (i.e. paranasal sinus areas) and may have also begun growing into their bones.

T3 means your cancer (tumour growth) has spread into the bone of your eye socket, roof of your mouth and/or maxillary sinus.

T4 means your cancer (tumour growth) has spread into other areas such as in/around your eye socket, skull, brain, sphenoid and/or frontal sinuses, and possibly the skin of your nose and/or cheek and/or the area connecting the back of your nose to the back of your mouth (nasopharynx).

The TNM Stages - THE LYMPTHNODES (LUMPS)

When you are finally given your official cancer diagnosis it will have letters and numbers associated with it that tell surgeons, doctors, oncologists and others working in the nhs medical fields how bad your cancer really is in terms of it stage and grade.

As an example of the above, my official cancer diagnosis is as follows: T4bN2cM0 - High Grade - NeuroEndocrine Carcinoma of Ethmoid Sinus; which I will now breakdown the meanings of.

High Grade - Grade 3

When grading cancer there are three grades. Grade 1, which is Low Grade, means the ethmoid cancer cells look almost like normal ethmoid sinus cells whereas Grade 2, which is Intermediate Grade, means the ethmoid cancer cells only look slightly similar to normal ethmoid sinus cells. And Grade 3, which is High Grade, means the ethmoid cancer cells look abnormal and nothing like normal ethmoid sinus cells.

If you see the word 'Differentiation' within your diagnosis letter it just means how well developed or poorly the ethmoid cancer cells have become in terms of their structure, complexity and maturity. Together with the cancer grading, it tells medical professionals how your cancer cells (cancer) are behaving (i.e. aggressively, fast growing and/or spreading to other parts of your body) and how they are likely to behave under chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy for example.

The TNM Stages - THE TUMOUR (CANCER GROWTH)

The tumour stage is split into four categories (or stages) known as T1, T2, T3 and T4; which tell medical professionals whether or not your cancer (tumour growth) has spread into surrounding organs and/or into other parts of the body.

T1 means your cancer (tumour growth) has stayed within the ethmoid sinus area only, but it may have grown into the bones of that ethmoid sinus area.

T2 means your cancer (tumour growth) has begun growing inside neighbouring sinus areas (i.e. paranasal sinus areas) and may have also begun growing into their bones.

T3 means your cancer (tumour growth) has spread into the bone of your eye socket, roof of your mouth and/or maxillary sinus.

T4 means your cancer (tumour growth) has spread into other areas such as in/around your eye socket, skull, brain, sphenoid and/or frontal sinuses, and possibly the skin of your nose and/or cheek and/or the area connecting the back of your nose to the back of your mouth (nasopharynx).

The TNM Stages - THE LYMPTHNODES (LUMPS)

The node (lymphnode) stage is split into four categories (or stages) known as N0, N1, N2 and N3, with N2 being split into three sub-categories known as 2a, 2b and 2c; which tell medical professionals whether or not their is any cancer (tumour growth) in your lympthnodes.

Lymphnodes are small lumps of tissue (glands) that contain white blood cells that help fight bacterial infections and viruses. As they are an important part of your immune system, medical professionals do not like to see cancer (tumour growth) in your lymphnodes; especially big ones.

N0 means there are no lymphnodes containing cancer cells.

N1 means there are cancer cells in at least one lymphnode located on the same side of the neck as the tumour growth (cancer) whereby that lympthnode, and maybe other lymphnodes, measures 3cm across or less.

N2a means there are cancer cells in at least one lymphnode located on the same side of the neck as the tumour growth (cancer) whereby that lymphnode, and maybe other lymphnodes, measures at least 3cm across but no more than 6cm across.

N2b means there are cancer cells in at least one lymphnode located on the same side of the neck as the tumour growth (cancer) whereby that lympthnode, and maybe other lymphnodes, measures no more than 6cm across.

N2c means there are cancer cells in at least one lymphnode located on the same side, or both sides, of the neck as the tumour growth (cancer) whereby that lympthnode, and maybe other lymphnodes, measures no more than 6cm across.

N3 means there are cancer cells in at least one lymphnode located on the same side, or both sides, of the neck as the tumour growth (cancer) whereby that lympthnode, and maybe other lymphnodes, measures 6cm or more.

In my case I had cancerous lympthnodes on both sides of neck and under my jaw line. Some where painful to touch, but others I did not even realise were there until my oncologist began poking around my head and neck.

The TNM Stages - THE METASTASIS

The Metastasis stage is split into two categories (or stages) known as M0 and M1; which tell medical professionals whether or not your cancer has spread to other parts of your body.

M0 means your cancer in the ethmoid region of your face has not spread to other parts of your body.

M1 means your cancer in the ethmoid region of your face has spread to other parts of your body; such as your lungs, brain and/or liver.

In my case my cancer did not spread, so was classed as M0; which medical professionals tend to leave out on official diagnosis paperwork. Hence why I only see T4bN2c and not T4bN2cM0 on my official diagnosis reports.

Small Cell Cancer - DIFFICULT TO REMOVE

Small Cell cancer means the cancerous cells within one area are so tiny (microscopic) that they are very difficult to detect and therefore remove (kill). The specialists cannot be sure they have killed every single dot (tiny cancer cell) with radiotherapy. Large Cell cancer on the other hand means the cancerous cells tend to be larger, more randomly placed, dots within an area. Hence why small cell cancer is the worst to treat (kill), making it incurable by definition.


OFFICIAL DIAGNOSIS
THE CHEMOTHERAPY
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