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Medicine (MD/DO)
First Aid
First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 (2023)
Page 216 -
Tumor Grade and Stage

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Tumor Grade and Stage

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Tumor Grade and Stage

Tumor-guy Grade Stage

Grade describes the degree of cell differentiation, the appearance of cell tumors, and mitotic activity.

Appearance of Tumor Cells
Appearance of Tumor-guy

Grade describes the microscopic appearance of cell tumors and tissue, which assess the differentiation of the cell. Differentiation means how much cancer resembles the tissue in which it grows.

Mitotic Activity
Mitt-toes Active-runner

The degree of cell differentiation can be characterized by low-grade to high-grade.

Low Grade (Well-Differentiated)
Low Grade

Low grade is described as well differentiated. It means the cell resembles normal parent tissue.

High Grade (Poorly-Differentiated)
High Grade

High grade is described as poorly differentiated. It means the cell does not resemble normal parent tissue. This grade links with increased aggressiveness.


Stage describes the degree of spread of the cancer. It has a system called TNM.

Localization or Spread

The stage of the cancer will mention localization /spread of the cancer.

Prognostic Value
Excellent or Bad Prognosis

The stage has a better prognostic value than grading. The sample case of this situation is: a low-stage yet high-grade tumor has a better prognosis than a high-stage yet low-grade tumor.

T= Tumor Size
Tumor Sized

T on the TNM stage cancer scoring system stands for tumor size.

N= Node Involvement

N on the TNM stage cancer scoring system stands for node involvement.

M= Metastasis

M on the TNM stage cancer scoring system stands for metastasis.


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