Staging is determining the scope of the local tumor and whether it has metastasized. There are specific procedures to follow for staging which is the basis of cancer treatment. With physical examination, the location of the tumor and its connection to surrounding tissues are evaluated.
Cancer is the uncontrolled and excessive growth of cells in any area of the body. In a healthy being, cell growth is kept under control by the immune system. Cancerous growth can occur in animals due to exposure to carcinogenics, genetic makeup, some viruses, hormones and living conditions when their immune system is suppressed.
Cancerous cells absorb vital nutrition to form into tumors, they suppress surrounding tissues and may reach different regions in the body through blood or lymphatic circulation. Cancer spreading to other parts of the body is called metastasis.
Staging is determining the scope of the local tumor and whether it has metastasized. There are specific procedures to follow for staging which is the basis of cancer treatment. With physical examination, the location of the tumor and its connection to surrounding tissues are evaluated. With imaging techniques such as ultrasound, xray, computed tomography, MRI, (PET) scan, location of the tumor is mapped out and metastasis is detected if it exists. With laboratory tests, blood cells and organ functions are examined and the type of cancer is determined through biopsy and cytology.
There are more than 100 types of cancer. Biological makeup and treatment procedure for each one is different. Some types of cancer cannot be treated but its growth can be stunted and the life quality of the patient can be improved. Same applies to some stages of cancer. Determination of the type of cancer, its grade which shows the metastatic risk and the stage, one can define the curability, metastatic behavior and treatment methods.
Firstly in staging, taking the overall health of the patient into consideration, risks and benefits are calculated with regard to the procedures that will be undertaken. One should bear in mind that in veterinary medicine, the goal could be to completely cure the disease or just to maintain quality of life by relieving the patient of their symptoms.