What Is Stage 5 Cancer?

Stage 5 Cancer?In my last post I gave an overview of the different stages of cancer, Stages I thru IV, and while many people have heard of these, not many were aware that there is a Stage 0. In the comments for that post, somebody had made a reference Stage 5 cancer, so today I want to clarify and address this misconception.

So What Is Stage 5 Cancer?

Well, there isn’t a stage 5 cancer, it doesn’t exist.
In all my research, I found no reference to a Stage 5 cancer.
There are other clinical conditions, say for example kidney disease, that make reference to a Stage 5 kidney failure, but not for cancer.

In addition to the TNM staging system as defined by AJCC, I have found other recognized systems that are used for certain types of cancer; these are used in some cases when the TNM system is not applicable because TNM is intended to grade solid tumours and also not all cancers grow and spread in the same way, for example:

  • Brain cancer only affects and spreads to parts of the brain and the central nervous system. It also denotes grading using stages 0 thru 4.
  • The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Fédération Internationale de Gynécologie et d’Obstétrique) use the FIGO staging system to determine the prognosis for cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, vaginal cancer, and so on; again using stages 0 thru 4.
  • Childhood cancers are usually staged according to other staging systems specific to the type of cancer, so this quite unique.
  • Blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma do not normally form solid tumours, and again they have their own unique staging systems.

The only Stage 5 cancer reference that I could find was in veterinary medicine when it used for the prognosis of lymphoma in cats and dogs, and Stage 5 in this case means that the animal is indeed riddled with cancer and has a life expectancy of 1-2 years with treatment.

5 Stages ≠ 5 Stages

Have you ever come across the philosophical argument that 1+1 does not always equal 2? Some people can spend hours, even a lifetime, debating this, calculating mathematical ‘proofs’, deriving their scientific evidence, there’s even a movie titled ‘Lucy‘ in which the lead character’s ability defies human logic and she mentions the fact that we have been programmed to accept that 1+1 equals 2, but she then goes on to say that this is not necessarily true.

Fortunately the logic of cancer having 5 stages but not being equal to Stages 1 thru 5 is not so complicated, and as already explained the five stages represent the Stages 0 thru 4.

So where did the term ‘Stage 5 Cancer’ come from?

I suspect that since not many people are aware of Stage 0, they may have confused the fact that there are five stages with the notion that there is a stage 5, simple as that, after all it’s a logical assumption. Recognising that there is a Stage 0 easily clears up the confusion.

Having said that, the term ‘Stage 5 Cancer’ appears to be gaining acceptance as an ‘urban’ terminology.

I have come across some instances of it’s use as a reference to somebody that has sadly succumbed to the disease and passed on. But I much prefer it’s use as reference to those that are still alive and have overcome the psychological impact of suffering from cancer.

This concept is promoted by a lady who goes by the name of Jackie Savi Cannonshe proposes that rather than being a medical phase, Stage 5 is

more the place you must release yourself to, in order to actually build a life you can love after cancer

It’s a stage of overcoming the emotional trauma associated with cancer, overcoming the victim mentality, and having the ability to move forward in life. It’s an awesome viewpoint, so positive.

The Many ‘Stages’ of Cancer

To recap, the stages of cancer do indeed have many subdivisions.

Cancer staging is the process of determining the size of the primary tumor and indicating the extent to which it has spread in the body. Doctors use this grading to develop a prognosis and to consider the most appropriate treatment for the patient.

The most common staging system is the TNM system where the ‘T’ refers to the original tumor, the ‘N’ indicates if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, and the ‘M’ stands for metastasis indicating if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Each of these letters will have a number or letter associated with it to indicate the severity of the cancer in terms of size, location, depth of growth, the extent of spread to the lymph nodes and/or to other parts of the body.

Since not all cancer types are the same, some may have additional subcategories and these are indicated by an additional letter, for example, you may see something like ‘T3a’, or ‘T3b’.

Example TNM Staging

All of these factors are taken into account to determine the values for T, N, and M; the doctors will then use this information to assign an overall grading and this is where the Stages 0, I, II, III, and IV come in.

Stage 0 is normally used for an in situ cancer that is in a very early stage, followed by Stage I, which is the least advanced, through to Stage IV, which is the most advanced.  Again,these stages may also be subdivided using letters such as A and B which give an indication of how much the cancer cells can be differentiated from healthy cells.

The lower the stage number, the better the prognosis.

Clearly, there is no Stage 5, but as you can see, within the five stages there are a number of subdivisions. I trust that this has addressed the issue and answered the question, ‘what is stage 5 cancer’.

Want to Know More?

For more information about grading, I strongly suggest discussing the subject with a qualified medical professional.

All I have attempted to do here is provide an overview of the staging system(s) in an effort to dispel the notion that there is a medical definition for Stage 5 cancer and to clear up any confusion.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and as always I welcome your comments, questions, even criticism. We are all here to learn 🙂

Be healthy and be happy.




20 thoughts on “What Is Stage 5 Cancer?”

  1. I knew that there were 5 stages to cancer, but I did not know it started at 0. That is good to know there is not a “Stage 5” cancer. I do have to agree with Jackie Cannon though. She is right that “Stage 5 is life after cancer.” Once you have experienced cancer as a patient, friend, or family member, you never look at life the same way again.

    I do have a question though. I read your “about” page that much of your immediate family passed away at young age. How do you think Cannon’s perspective relates to that? If it is too difficult a question for you, then you do not have to respond. Otherwise, I look forward to hearing what you have to say. Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a great day!

    1. Not a lot of people do realise that there is in fact a Stage 0 and I think that’s the reason people get confused.
      Jackie Cannon does make a good point about getting beyond the psychological and emotional turmoil and adapting your life to cope after cancer. Cancer is like a wake up call and makes us realise how precious life is.

      Many of my family members dying at relatively young ages made me very philosophical I guess, and I had accepted that it was only a matter of time before I get cancer or have a heart attack. When I was diagnosed I just accepted that my time had come and with the family history I was kinda expecting it, so I wasn’t as shocked as many expected me to be.

      But as I said, I view it a wake up call, and you appreciate life more and adjust your priorities. Jackie’s outlook is spot on and it’s important to focus on what really matters and not get bogged down worrying how long you have left.

  2. My father was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer, and like you decided to use natural therapies and lived for 7 more years! Truly remarkable. Thank you for sharing your story and for bringing this information to the internet.

    1. Sorry to hear about your father. It’s not clear from your comment, is he still with us?What natural therapies did he use?
      7 years is better than many expect after receiving conventional treatments.
      What natural therapies did he use? I’d be interested to know.

      You take care,


  3. This article was very informative and it shed some light on some questions about the stages. I have a very close friend who was diagnosed with cancer and was not expected to make it past 6 months. Well 15 months later he is still here. He chose the all natural way as well.

    1. Good news for your friend. I’m pleased that the natural way worked for him.
      If you don’t mind, can you share with me what natural ways he used?

      Take care,


  4. Hi, Abdusalam. I would like to ask one question that is lurking in my mind.

    Is cancer really incurable? Is this not only a declaration from the medical science that could not find a solution to an illness?

    If cancer, as declared by the medical industry, is really incurable then we have no hope that using the natural way has no place to cure us.

    But there are patients who are cancer survivors. Meaning they have outlived the doctors’ deadline and they are the proof that even the severest illness can be cured and we can be healed.

    So I agree with you using the natural way, the natural therapy which is not only for curative but also preventive.

    1. An interesting question Abagatan. There are many that believe cancer can be cured but the problem with conventional therapies is that sometimes they do more damage than good, and a high percentage of patients that have undergone treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy have only bought themselves a limited extended life expectancy. Many times the cancer will come back and they have to have treatment again and wait until the next episode. So this is not really curing, but rather driving the cancer in to what they call ‘remission’.

      Similarly with natural treatments, there is not one ‘cure-all magic bullet’ and there are no guarantees, but the main difference is that the natural path attempts to heal holistically and without damaging normal cells of the body.

      There is a lot of research ongoing, looking to develop new treatments and to also understand the mechanism of how the natural medicines work. 

      There are many testimonials that you can find of survivors telling their stories, patients who went through the conventional way and those who used the natural way.

      I believe there will be a time when the world can categorically say it has a cure, but until then we can only weigh up the options and decide which one is more suitable for us.  

  5. I had heard of a 5th stage of cancer before, but I couldn’t find any reference to it.

    The reason I’ve been looking into it is because my uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August time 2017, but now it’s spread to other areas, and the doctors can’t do anything.

    So I’ve been researching natural ways I can help him. I’ve found some natural ingredients to help his body fight the cancer, but since he can’t stomach much, it’s difficult for him to eat certain foods.

    Anyway, thanks for the insights into stage 5 cancer, and well done on surviving it. 🙂


    1. Hi Neil, sorry to hear the news about your uncle and it’s saddening that the doctors say they can’t do anything. If you are looking to the natural options, you may find some useful information in this site. Soursop and papaya are reported to be very effective and I used both of them. Papaya is also useful for stimulating the appetite. 

      I’d be interested to know what natural ingredients you have identified to help your uncle.

      I pray for your your uncle’s recovery and I wish you all well.

      If you need further information just reply below or send me an email.


  6. I never knew that there is a stage 0 of cancer. I love your article. I love reading about any medical information. Cancer is a broad subject and I sure hope and pray that scientists will come up with a cure, very soon. This world has already lost too many people to cancer and it has to stop.

    1. Not many people know of the Stage 0, I think because it’s hardy ever reported since it is a very early stage.

      I personally believe there are cures in the natural world, which is what I’m trying to share with this site and I’m sure in time there will scientific evidence to support their medicinal properties.

      Prevention plays a big part and people could help themselves a lot if they maintain a healthy lifestyle; that’s not to say it’s 100% guaranteed that they won’t get cancer, but it greatly improves their chances to avoid it.

      You take care,


  7. A few months ago I wouldn’t have had any interest in an article on cancer. Unfortunately one of my best friends has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer so it’s become a whole new world to me. Cancer is literally a world on its own and it takes over life. I like the definition of stage 5 by Jackie Savi Cannon. Right now all we focus is on her getting better but life afterwards will be a different life and will take time getting used to. Thanks for a great article.

    1. Hi Hollie, sorry to hear the unfortunate news but we can take comfort that cancer is not the automatic death sentence it used to be. Treatments have come along way in recent years and research continues to further improve them. There are plenty of examples of ladies using natural means to defeat their breast cancer, so you may want to investigate the options.

      I hope all goes well for your friend. Let me know how she gets on.

      Take care,


  8. Thanks for all this information. Did not know much about stage 5 cancer. My father died from lung cancer, smoked for 54 years will do that to you. He didn’t see stage 5 either, 4 was enough to kill him. Perhaps after a person dies, it then becomes stage 5?

    1. Hi Bobby, my mother was a heavy smoker but surprisingly she didn’t get lung cancer, she died from ovarian cancer.  

      I mentioned in my post that some people do indeed use the term Stage 5 cancer as a reference to somebody that has died from cancer. As a medical term, it doesn’t exist.

      Thanks for your comment.


  9. Useful info as always- I’d not heard of stage 5 cancer and now I know why.
    I think we all look for ways to make sense of the things that happen and the better armed we are with information which isn’t mainstream medical collusion the better placed we are to deal with and beat cancer.
    Thank you

    1. Thanks Heather. Surprisingly there is a lot of confusion about the term ‘Stage 5’ cancer and I hope this article clears up the misconception. You’re quite right of course, information is the key to determine what is best for the individual and how they deal with their cancer. You might want to look at my post about ‘What is a Quack Doctor’. Let me know what you think.

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