To learn about stomach cancer prognosis and survival rate, you have to have an understanding of the stage of your disease which I will show you here.
You also need to remember that many statistics in patients like yourself should be taken on 'face value' only.
That aside, the life expectancy is important to both the person suffering the disease as well as family and friends who want to make plans for both the present and future.
Before reading on, I assume that you are ready to take in this information which you might find emotionally difficult.
The reason for having staging is that it provides a way for doctors to determine the best treatment options for you to go into remission as well as guiding stomach cancer prognosis.
Classically it has been classified in to 2 staging systems. One system is known as TNM staging, the other is a by classifying it from Stage 0 to 4.
TNM stands for Tumor, Node and Metastasis.
Nodes are the lymph glands that normally present in the body to remove waste products from the cells.
You can think of them as the waste disposal system of the body.
When cancer spreads, it has 3 main routes:
Local Spread – The tumor enlarges within the area it arose.
Lymphatic Spread – The cells migrate to the lymph nodes
Blood Spread – Invades local blood vessels and diseminates to other parts of the body
It is the degree to which it occurs determines stomach cancer prognosis.
In the TNM classification you have the following:
The tumor stage affects stomach cancer prognosis and the lower the stage, the better the prognosis.
T1 – The tumor is within the wall. This is further divided in to 1a and 1b.
Ia when cancer is confined within the inner lining known as the mucosa.
1b is where spread occurs a short distance from the mucosa in to the sub-mucosal layer. This can be thought of as the foundation area of your stomach lining holding the mucosal surface together.
T2 – Spread has occurred further in to the wall and has now reached the muscle layer.
T3 – The tumor has now breached the outer wall. If it has only just breached it, this is classified as T3a, but if it has moved further afield to local organs it is known as T3b.
N0 – This means no nodes are involved.
N1 – This means 1 or 2 lymph glands near the stomach are involved.
N2 – This means between 3 and 6 lymph glands are involved.
N3a – This means between 7 to 15 lymph glands are involved.
N3b – When the tumor has spread to 16 or more lymph glands. In this situation, the stomach cancer prognosis is worse.
M0 – There has been no spread of your tumor to other organs in your body and is indicative of a better stomach cancer prognosis.
M1 – There has been spread of your tumor to other organs in your body. When this is the case, the stomach cancer prognosis is worse.
They are classified not only by the type, but by the stage which can be anything from 0 to 4.
This staging has been used to estimate prognosis in stomach cancer patients.
It’s a complex system and I would strongly recommend that you understand the TNM form of staging before looking at this numbering staging.
The reason I advise you to understand the TNM system is that the numbering equates to TNM staging as you will see below and also helps determine the stomach cancer prognosis:
0 – This is also known as carcinoma in situ or CIS for short. This is the best stage as it is at the earliest part of its development with a high cure rate. It is when the cells are just turning in to abnormal malignant cells.
1a – This is where the tumor is within the lining and equates to the TNM classification of T1 N0 M0 i.e within the mucosal lining only.
1b – This equates to the TNM staging T2 N0 M0 where the cells have breached the submucosal level and invades the muscle or T1 N1 M0 where the tumor is still within the superficial layers, but has managed to spread to 1 or 2 lymph nodes nearby.
2a – This can be thought of as either T1 N2 N0 where the tumor is within the inner mucosal lining, but between 3 and 6 lymph nodes locally are also involved.
It can also be thought of as T2 N1 M0 where it has spread in to the submucosal level and also involves between 3 and 6 local lymph nodes or T4a NO MO where the tumor has spread out of the wall to local structures, but no local lymph node or metastatic spread has occurred.
3a – This can be T2 N3 M0 where it is within the submucosa with lymph node spread to 7 or more local nodes, but no metastatic spread.
It can also equate to T3 N2 M0 where spread has occurred to the outer lining and is involving between 3 and 6 local lymph nodes.
It can also be classified as T4a N1 MO where the tumor has breached the outer surface and is in 1 or 2 local lymph nodes.
3b – This can be T3 N3 M0 where the tumor is in the outer layer of the stomach, has 7 or more lymph nodes involved and has no distant or metastatic spread.
It can also be thought of as T4a N2 M0 where there has been spread outside to the local area and between 3 to 6 local lymph nodes are also involved.
It can also equate to T4b N0 or 1 M0 where the tumor has invaded nearby organs, but either has no node involvement or 1 to 2 nodes involved, but no evidence of any distant spread.
3C – This is T4a N3 M0 with spread outside the wall locally and more than 7 nearby lymph nodes are involved.
It also equates to T4b N2 to 3 M0 with spread outside the wall and local invasion to structures or organs with either 3 to 6 lymph nodes involved or more than 7 nodes involved, but no metastatic spread to other organs.
4 – This is advanced disease and equates to T1 to 4b N0 to 3 M1. The tumor has spread throughout the body to other distant organs.
So, are you really ready to know the statistics?
If the answer is yes, please read on BUT do read what I have to say afterwards about stomach cancer prognosis.
The earlier its picked up, the better the prognosis stomach cancer patients can expect.
There are also specific genetic disorders including:
These can influence risk and outcome as well as influence the onset in young people.
Some believe positive mental attitude (see positive mental attitude) is important as well as other factors such as nutrition status, other illnesses you may have, age, surgery and chemotherapy.
Even the type of tumor itself affects your cancer journey and survival as some grow slowly and unfortunately some grow much quicker.
Once you have had treatment they will follow you up with repeat scans and blood tests which may include tumor markers.
The important thing to remember about stomach cancer prognosis is that the outcome is about you and not a statistic and being human makes any statistic just that, a statistic!