Let's start with the AJCC or the American Joint Committee on Cancer. Apparently they are the people who set up cancer staging criteria. They set the original TNM staging system in 1959. TNM means Tumor size, Nodes positive, and Metastases.
I used to know what stage I am - IIA. Now I can't figure it out. With all this other stuff included. I am very confused. I looked at the American Cancer Society's website for help. And I am even more confused. There is no more little chart that shows what you stage you are.
So here is my game plan: I will ignore all this new information until I meet with my oncologist sometime next summer and ask her. I feel this is better for more. A little ignorance and confusion will go a long way in reducing my stress.
Now all of us breast cancer people can have these little conversations:
'What stage are you?'
'IIa, I think.'
'Is that the old staging or the new staging?'
'What new staging?'
'You didn't hear about it?'
All the breast cancer staging changed in 2018. They added all sorts of new information, grade, hormone status, etc'
'Oh, so if I was stage IIb, do you know what new stage I am?'
'No, I don't even know what stage I am. I can't figure it out. I'm going to ask my oncologist.'
'Crap, let me call my oncologist too.'
But I swear there is a vast conspiracy out there to keep us all confused.