NCLEX Review – Cancer: Classifications and Metastasis

In this NCLEX review video, we will look at concepts you need to understand for the NCLEX test concerning cancer. It is important to know that cancers are classified by tissue type and by the primary location where the cancer first developed. We’ll explore six major categories of cancers based on tissue type, including carcinoma, sarcoma, myeloma, leukemia, lymphoma, and mixed types. We will explore the classifications further by looking at classification by grade and stage. Finally, we will look at what it means when cancer metastasizes and the main sites of metastasis.


NCLEX Cancer: Classifications and Metastasis Infographic

Everything You Need to Know About Cancer Classification

Infographic explaining the different cancer classifications






















Cancer Classification by Grade

Grade 0 – Normal tissue

Grade 1 – Well differentiated cells with slight abnormality

Grade 2 – Moderately differentiated cells that have more abnormalities

Grade 3 – Poorly differentiated cells that are very abnormal

Grade 4 – Very undifferentiated and immature cells, meaning there is no resemblance to the tissue of origin

Cancer Classification by Stage

T: Tumor Size

  • -T0 – no evidence of tumor
  • -T1 to T4 – increasing tumor size and involvement
  • -Tis – carcinoma in situ (or abnormal cells that remain in the place where they first formed)

N: Node Involvement

  • -N0 – no nodal involvement
  • -N1 to N4 – increasing degrees of lymph node involvement
  • -Nx – node involvement cannot be assessed

M: Distant Metastasis

  • -M0 – no evidence of distant metastasis
  • -M1 – evidence of metastatic involvement

Simple Stage Classification

0 – Abnormal cells present but haven’t spread

1 to 3 – Cancer is present; the higher the number, the more it’s spread

4 – Cancer has spread to distant parts of the body

NCLEX Questions


by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 12, 2021