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Cancer Grades and Stages

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The shock of a cancer diagnosis can make it difficult to take in, much less comprehend, any details you’re given about what type it is, and what can be gleaned by looking at a sample of cells that make it up. Consequently, even if you understand what you’re told, you may forget most of the details before you reach the parking lot.

Then there’s the fact that even if a health professional explains any medical terms in language you can easily understand — which doesn’t always happen — once you get home, you may want or need a more detailed explanation.

Stage and grade are two terms that are used to describe a particular case of cancer at a specific point in time. But exactly what do they mean? 

Here’s a quick overview in this reader’s question column I wrote for Good Times last year: ‘Cancer Grades and Stages’. 

A big thank-you to the two interviewees who so generously shared their time and expertise with me for this story:


To learn more about cancer grades and stages, check out this video, or these pages explaining cancer grades and stages from the Canadian Cancer Society.

Photo by (US) National Cancer Institute on Unsplash