Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma - Staging

Your doctor needs to know the extent (stage) of non-Hodgkin lymphoma to plan the best treatment. Staging is a careful attempt to find out what parts of the body are affected by the disease. The stage is based on where lymphoma cells are found and on how many areas are affected.

Your doctor needs to know the extent (stage) of non-Hodgkin lymphoma to plan the best treatment. Staging is a careful attempt to find out what parts of the body are affected by the disease.

Lymphoma usually starts in a lymph node. It can spread to nearly any other part of the body. For example, it can spread to the liver, lungs, bone, and bone marrow. The stage is based on where lymphoma cells are found (in the lymph nodes or in other organs or tissues). The stage also depends on how many areas are affected. The stages of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are as follows:
  • Stage I: The lymphoma cells are in one lymph node group (such as in the neck or underarm). Or, if the abnormal cells are not in the lymph nodes, they are in only one part of a tissue or organ (such as the lung, but not the liver or bone marrow).
  • Stage II: The lymphoma cells are in at least two lymph node groups on the same side of (either above or below) the diaphragm. (See the picture of the diaphragm.) Or, the lymphoma cells are in one part of an organ and the lymph nodes near that organ (on the same side of the diaphragm). There may be lymphoma cells in other lymph node groups on the same side of the diaphragm.
  • Stage III: The lymphoma is in lymph nodes above and below the diaphragm. It also may be found in one part of a tissue or an organ near these lymph node groups.
  • Stage IV: Lymphoma cells are found in several parts of one or more organs or tissues (in addition to the lymph nodes). Or, it is in the liver, blood, or bone marrow.
  • Recurrent: The disease returns after treatment.


In addition to these stage numbers, your doctor may also describe the stage as A or B:
  • A: You have not had weight loss, drenching night sweats, or fevers.
  • B: You have had weight loss, drenching night sweats, or fevers.

Source: National Cancer Institute

 


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