Pancreatic Cancer: Staging

Staging refers to the process of estimating a patient’s prognosis based on how much cancer is in the body and where it is located.

Stage 0: Carcinoma in situ. In situ is Latin meaning something that stays in its place. This stage describes precancerous conditions: Abnormal cells grow within the ducts or lining of the pancreas, but have not spread anywhere outside the place where they originate.

Stage I: In stage I, cancer has formed, but is confined to the pancreas only. Stage I is dividedinto stage IA and stage IB depending on the size of the tumor.

Stage IA: The tumor is two centimeters or smaller and found in the pancreas only

Stage IB: The tumor is larger than two centimeters and is found in the pancreas only

Stage II: In stage II, cancer may have spread to nearby organs but does not involve local blood vessels or distant parts of the body. This stage is also divided into two stages, stage IIA and IIB based on local lymph node involvement. Lymph nodes are where infection-fighting cells are produced and stored and are found all over the body.

Stage IIA: Cancer has not spread to local lymph nodes but has spread to nearby organs and tissue

Stage IIB: Cancer has spread to local lymph nodes and may have spread to nearby organs and tissue

Stage III: In stage III, cancer has spread to nearby blood vessels, but has not invaded distant organs or tissue. Cancer may or may not involve local lymph nodes in stage III.

Stage IV: The cancer has spread outside of the pancreas to other parts of the body.