This gives information about the cancer or tumour such as its size and location, how deeply it has grown in the location it started in (the primary cancer) and if it has grown into nearby cells in the body. A score from 0 to 4 is given depending on how much the cancer has grown, with a higher number given to a cancer that has grown more deeply. For some types of cancers, a letter is also given to describe this in more detail.
N stands for lymph nodes. These are tiny, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection and are part of the lymphatic system. A number is given depending on whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes or not.
M stands for metastasis, which is when the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body. If the cancer is M0, it has not spread to distant parts of the body. If the cancer is M1, it has spread to distant organs or cells.
To learn more staging information for specific types of cancer, click here.