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Staging anal cancer

Staging describes how far the cancer has spread. Knowing the stage helps doctors plan the best treatment for you. Anal cancer is staged using the TNM (tumour–nodes–metastasis) system.

T (tumour) 0–4indicates how far the tumour has grown into the bowel wall and nearby areas: T1 is a smaller tumour; T4 is a larger tumour
N (nodes) 0–3shows if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes (small glands): N0 means no cancer is in the lymph nodes; N1 means cancer is in the lymph nodes around the rectum; N2 means cancer is in pelvic and/ or groin lymph nodes on one side; N3 means cancer is in other nearby lymph nodes
M (metastasis) 0–1shows if the cancer has spread to other, distant parts of the body: M0 means cancer has not spread; M1 means cancer has spread

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Understanding Anal Cancer

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This information is reviewed by

This information was last reviewed July 2020 by the following expert content reviewers: Dr Chip Farmer, Colorectal Surgeon, The Alfred, The Avenue and Cabrini Hospitals, VIC; Tara Faure, Lower GI Nurse Consultant, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Debra Furniss, Radiation Oncologist, GenesisCare, QLD; Caitriona Nienaber, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Max Niggl, Consumer; Julie O’Rourke, CNC Radiation Oncology, Cancer Rapid Assessment Unit, Cancer and Ambulatory Support, Canberra Health Services, ACT; Dr Satish Warrier, Colorectal Surgeon, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC.