Staging is a way of describing where the tumor is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting the functions of other organs in the body. Doctors use diagnostic tests to determine the tumor’s stage, so staging may not be complete until all of the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient’s prognosis (chance of recovery). There are different stage descriptions for different types of tumors.
Although there is no official staging system for EFT, the following criteria help doctors describe EFT and work together to plan the best treatments:
Localized EFT. The tumor has remained in the bone or tissue where it began or spread only to the nearby tissues.
Metastatic EFT. The tumor has spread from the bone or tissue where it began to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, other bones, or bone marrow. Rarely, the disease spreads to the lymph nodes, brain, or spinal cord. Approximately 25% of patients with EFT will have obvious evidence of tumor spread at the time of diagnosis. Whether the tumor has spread is the most important factor used to determine the treatment options and a patient’s prognosis.
Recurrent EFT. Recurrent EFT is a tumor that comes back after treatment. It may recur where it began (a local recurrence) or in another part of the body (metastatic recurrence). If there is a recurrence, the cancer may need to be staged again (called re-staging) using the system above.