Before oncologists make neuroendocrine tumor treatment recommendations, staging is performed to determine how far the cancer has spread and which therapies are most likely to produce a positive outcome. The treatments for an early-stage tumor are often different from the treatments for a late-stage tumor, which makes prompt and accurate staging especially important.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we work with patients who are seeking an initial diagnosis, preparing for their first round of treatment or evaluating their options for a tumor that has recently come back. Patients turn to us from St. Petersburg, Florida, and surrounding areas because of our comprehensive, individualized approach. We evaluate many different factors when designing a patient’s neuroendocrine tumor treatment plan, and staging is one of the most important.
The process of staging a neuroendocrine tumor is slightly different from the process of staging other types of tumors, such as breast cancer or lung cancer. When it comes to staging neuroendocrine tumors, Moffitt’s oncologists determine:
- What part of the body the tumor originated in
- Whether the tumor produces hormones
- How quickly the cancerous cells divide and reproduce
- How the cells look when examined under a microscope
- Whether there is any necrosis (cell death) in the area near the tumor
Tumors that have a very clear pattern when viewed beneath a microscope, spread slowly throughout the body and do not have any visible areas of necrosis are considered low-grade (G1) tumors. Those that have moderately clear differentiation and moderate growth rates are considered intermediate grade (G2). Those that contain cells of various shapes and sizes, reproduce quickly and have visible areas of necrosis are considered high grade (G3).
While beneficial, neuroendocrine tumor staging is not the "be-all and end-all" of a patient’s diagnosis. At Moffitt, we recognize that there are many different variables that can influence a patient’s response to treatment. Some can be analyzed on paper, and others cannot. This is why, when recommending treatment for a patient from St. Petersburg or elsewhere, we consider far more than a tumor’s stage. We use evidence-based best practices and each patient’s personal medical history to collaboratively select the most promising approach.
To learn more about neuroendocrine tumor staging and how it might influence your own personal treatment plan, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. We welcome patients from St. Petersburg, FL, to consult with our team, with or without referrals.