Staging of children's cancers

This information about children’s cancer was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

The stage of a cancer means the size of the tumour and whether or not it has spread beyond where it started in the body. Knowing the extent of the cancer helps doctors decide on the best treatment for your child.

Staging applies to nearly all cancers apart from leukaemia.

Generally, cancer is divided into four stages:

  • Stage 1 – The cancer is small and only in one place in the body
  • Stage 2 or 3 – The cancer has spread into parts of the body close to where it started
  • Stage 4 – The cancer is large or may have spread to other parts of the body.

Different cancers have specific staging systems. The doctors will talk to you about your child’s situation and explain what it means. If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body it’s known as secondary or metastatic cancer.

Children's cancer information from CCLG

This information about children’s cancer was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG). It has been reviewed and edited by their publications committee, which includes medical experts from all fields of children’s cancer and care.

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