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Staging Question

Posts: 377
Joined: Oct 2010

I am usually on the esophageal cancer sight but I have a staging question. According to UNDER TREATMENT on this sight your stage of cancer never changes even if it recurrs.

My husband was diagnosed in Feb 2009 with Stage IIB esophageal cancer. He had the surgury but nothing else. It was adenocarsinoma as he did not smoke or drink. His was from acid reflux. It has recurred and now he has malignant cells in the diaghramn and the parietal pleura.The surgeon said it is stage iv now.
If the article is true that the stage never changes then the treatment should be for Stage IIB not for Stage IV.

Am I thinking correctly.?
Please advise

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

I didn't read the article you read yet, but I have read a little about staging. When the cancer is first diagnosed, the doctors read the path report, measure the tumor, run some tests to see how far the cancer has traveled around the body, and "stage" the cancer. In stage 1 the cancer is fairly small and localized. In stage 4 the cancer has traveled away from the primary spot and started to set up camp in other places in the body. The other stages are somewhere in between. I have two kinds of cancer: breast cancer stage 1 from 2002 and lung cancer stage 1 from 2006. When I had lung surgery in 2006, the surgeon originally thought it was breast cancer that had traveled to the lung. He even sent me home with the diagnosis of stage 4 breast cancer. I "knew" I had a month to heal up from surgery and then meet the oncologist for chemotherapy. That's the way stage 4 breast cancer is treated and that's what everyone thought I had. Then the pathology report came back with a different kind of cancer and I was re-staged and diagnosed to stage 1 lung cancer. Surgery is the usual treatment for stage 1. Chemotherapy is the usual treatment for stage 4. And lung cancer doesn't respond to breast cancer chemo. So the diagnosis and staging made a difference.

Surgeons know surgery. They do not do chemotherapy. My breast surgeon wouldn't even offer a guess at what kind of treatment I would be offered after surgery. He said that was the oncologist's specialty and just like he wouldn't want the oncologist to tell him how to operate he wouldn't tell him how to prescribe. I hope your husband will talk with an oncologist soon about his treatment options. Good luck finding the right doctor.

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