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Lung cancer stages

Making an educated treatment decision begins with the stage, or progression, of the disease. Using the results from your diagnostic tests, your care team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) will develop an appropriate treatment plan for you.

If you have been recently diagnosed, we will review your pathology to confirm you have received the correct diagnosis and staging information, and develop a personalized treatment plan. If you have a recurrence, we will perform comprehensive testing and identify a treatment approach that is suited to your needs.

Video: Cancer Staging

Cancer Staging

Lung cancer stages

Small cell lung cancer staging

Small cell lung cancer makes up less than 20 percent of lung cancers and is typically caused by tobacco smoking. It often starts in the bronchi, then quickly grows and spreads to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes. Small cell lung cancer stages are classified in two ways:

  • Limited stage: The cancer is found in one lung, sometimes including nearby lymph nodes.
  • Extensive stage: Cancer has spread to the other lung, the fluid around the lung (the pleura) or to other organs in the body.

Non-small cell lung cancer staging

Non-small cell lung cancer staging uses the TNM system:

  • Tumor(T) describes the size of the original tumor.
  • Lymph node (N) indicates whether the cancer is present in the lymph nodes.
  • Metastasis (M) refers to whether cancer has spread to other parts of the body, usually the liver, bones or brain.

A number (0-4) or the letter X is assigned to each factor. A higher number indicates increasing severity. The letter X means the information could not be assessed. For instance, a T1 score indicates a smaller tumor than a T2 score. Once the T, N and M scores have been assigned, an overall stage is assigned.

Stages of non-small cell lung cancer:

How is lung cancer staged?

daniel nader

Staging is very important because the stage of the lung cancer dictates treatment. Dr. Nader describes how lung cancer is staged by using intrabronchial ultrasound and navigational bronchoscopy, followed by a non-surgical needle biopsy.

What is the difference between small and non-small lung cancer?

Dr. Weiss explains the difference between the two most common types of lung cancer, small-cell and non-small cell.

They are diagnosed by pathologists who examine tissue under a microscope to look for certain types of proteins in order to determine the cancer type.

Recent advancements in lung cancer treatment

In this explanation of innovative therapies, Dr. Nader talks about several treatment options, including intratumoral chemotherapy, brachytherapy, genomics and stereotactic radiation therapy.

The video also covers advancements in chemotherapy made possible by genomic tumor assessment and precision medicine.

We're here to guide you through the cancer journey

We understand you may be feeling overwhelmed with questions and concerns about your type of cancer and what it all means. We're here to help guide you through the process.

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Discuss treatment options with an Oncology Information Specialist, who is available 24/7 at (800) 615-3055, or chat with us.

An accurate cancer diagnosis

accurate cancer diagnosis

Our team of cancer experts uses advanced, minimally invasive diagnostic technology to detect cancerous cells anywhere in the body.