American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

AJCC Staging Rules

8th Edition Staging Rules8th Edition Staging Rules

In this resource, the rules and associated rationale are for the 8th Edition AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. Note that these are general rules described in Chapter 1 of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. Please refer to relevant disease site chapters to learn more about specific allowable disease site differences to correctly stage such patients and that are necessary for the appropriate medical care of the patient.

Download the 8th Edition Staging Rules


Timing Is Everything

Stage Classifications Graphic

Timing is the key to AJCC clinical and pathologic staging. AJCC stage classification timeframes match the points in time in a patient’s care based on their treatment. All patients undergoing diagnostic work-up for cancer are assigned clinical staging. If the patient has surgical treatment, the managing physician assigns pathologic staging. If the patient receives systemic or radiation therapy, the managing physician assigns posttherapy staging.

The graphic represents the patient care continuum with treatment choices and the resulting stage classifications. The arrows indicate the starting and ending points for information included in that stage.

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