For anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, hearing the news can feel a difficult and heartbreaking blow. For many people who were recently diagnosed with cancer, they may find that it can be overwhelming to understand everything that your doctor explains. While no one can ever anticipate a cancer diagnosis, there are great ways to learn more about cancer, to give you a better understanding of your cancer moving forward. Let’s examine what some common terms are with cancer.

There are over 100 different types of cancer, with more continuing to develop each year. Different types of cancer will vary in its location and how quickly it is spreading, and that information is what doctors use for determining the grade of cancer. In other words, doctors will examine how quickly it is growing, and how widespread it is by viewing the tissue under a microscope. This will help doctors determine how quickly it is spreading to other parts of the body, allowing them to determine the urgency of beginning treatment.

Once doctors can determine the grade of cancer, their next step is to determine what stage it is in. The different stages of cancer, which range from stage I to stage IV, help doctors determine the extent of cancer. To help them determine its stage, they will look at where cancer originated, where it has spread to, and if it traveled to other organs. Stage I refers to cancers that have not spread past its original location. Stage IV refers to cancers that have grown significantly and spread to other areas of the body. Staging a cancer is a crucial part of the process because it helps determine the best treatment options for the particular type.

The prognosis refers to the outcome of their cancer diagnosis, and if the cancer is likely to return in the future. A cancer prognosis is usually determined by the statistics of the specific type of cancer. For example, a woman who is diagnosed with stage II breast cancer may have a better prognosis than someone who was diagnosed with stage II lung cancer. While they are both in stage II, the prognosis will vary, based on the overall severity of the type of cancer. The prognosis of cancer can greatly vary, so it is important to talk to your doctor about your options.

It is important to remember that no cancer diagnosis is the same, and can end up taking a different route than expected. With that being said, always make sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns, and what treatments are available for you.