Staging is the exact determination for the extent of the cancer. By determining the type, grade and stage of the cancer, the treatment of the disease, the rate of possible metastasis and treatment methods are defined.
Cancer is the excessive and uncontrolled growth of cells anywhere in the body. In healthy organisms, cell growth is kept under control by the immune system. Cancer can be seen in animals whose immune system is suppressed due to carcinogens, genetic factors, some viruses, hormones and their living conditions.
Cancerous cells absorb vital nutrients and form tumours, suppress surrounding tissues, and can also reach different parts of the body through the blood or lymph circulation. The spread of cancer to different parts of the body is called metastasis.
Staging is the determination of local tumour extent and the presence or absence of metastases. There are procedures that must be followed for the precise definition of staging, which is the basis of cancer treatment. With a physical examination, the location and appearance of the local tumour and its relationship with adjacent tissues are assessed. Imaging techniques such as ultrasound, X-ray, tomography (CT), MRI and PET scanning are used to determine the location, structure and metastasis status of the tumour within the body. Laboratory tests are used to analyse blood cells and organ functions. With biopsy and cytology applications, the content of the tumour is examined under a microscope to determine the type of cancer.
There are more than 100 types of cancer. The biological structure and treatment of each type is different. Some types of cancer cannot be cured, only the rate of spread can be minimised and the patient’s comfort can be improved. The same is also applies to some stages of cancer. The cancer type, grade and stage, which indicate metastasic capacity, determine the treatment options, the rate of possible metastasis and the treatment methods.
In staging, firstly, the general health condition of the patient is evaluated and the advantages and risk factors of the procedures to be performed are calculated. It should not be forgotten that the aim of cancer treatment in veterinary medicine may be the complete elimination of the disease, or it may be to ensure the patient’s quality of life by removing only the symptoms of cancer.