NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016
N = Node
Lymph drains from esophageal tissue into vessels
that transport lymph to the bloodstream. As lymph
travels, it passes through small, oval-shaped
structures called lymph nodes. Lymph nodes remove
germs from lymph. As shown in
nodes and vessels are found throughout the body.
The N category reflects the number of lymph nodes
with esophageal cancer.
means it is unknown if there is cancer in
means that there is no cancer within the
nearby lymph nodes.
means the cancer has spread to 1 or 2
means the cancer has spread to 3 to 6
means the cancer has spread to 7 or more
M = Metastasis
The M category tells you if there are metastases to
sites not in direct contact with the esophagus. Such
sites include distant lymph nodes.
means it is unknown if cancer has spread
to distant sites.
means that there is no growth to distant
means that the cancer has spread to
Lymph nodes near the
Throughout your body is a network
of vessels that transport lymph to the
bloodstream. Lymph is a clear fluid that
contains germ-fighting blood cells. As
lymph travels in vessels, it passes through
lymph nodes, which remove germs from
lymph. Esophageal cancer first spreads to
lymph nodes next to the esophagus and
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