Sarcoma: Staging

Grading the tumor

Sarcomas are graded on a scale of 1-6. A low-grade tumor is generally easier to treat than a high-grade or more aggressive tumor. In order to determine the grade, physicians must perform a biopsy, which allows them to determine the type of tumor, its rate of growth and how much of it is comprised of dead or dying tissue.

Sarcomas that have more normal cells and fewer dividing cells are called low-grade because they tend to be slow growing and take longer to spread. Once the sarcoma has been graded, the grade is considered when determining its stage.

Further information on how sarcomas are graded can be found here: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/sarcoma-adultsofttissuecancer/detailedguide...

Staging the tumor

The staging system for soft-tissue sarcoma is defined as follows:

Stage IA

The tumor is smaller than 5 cm (2 inches) across and has not spread to lymph nodes or more distant sites. The cancer is grade 1 or the grade cannot be determined.

Stage IB

The tumor is larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across and has not spread to lymph nodes or more distant sites. The cancer is grade 1 or the grade cannot be determined,

Stage IIA

The tumor is smaller than 5 cm (2 inches) across. It has not spread to lymph nodes or more distant sites. The cancer is grade 2 or 3.

Stage IIB

The tumor is larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across and has not spread to lymph nodes or more distant sites. The cancer is grade 2.

Stage III

The tumor is larger than 5 cm (2 inches) across and has not spread to lymph nodes or more distant sites. The cancer is grade 3.

OR: The tumor of any size and any grade has spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to distant sites.

Stage IV

The cancer, of any size and any grade, has spread to lymph nodes near the tumor and/or to distant sites.