Cancer Treatment Centers of America
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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 for you. If you have had a cancer recurrence, we will perform comprehensive testing and identify a treatment approach tailored to your needs.

Non-small cell lung cancer occult stage

In occult-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), cancer cells are found in the sputum (mucus from the lungs), but tumors are not immediately visible. Patients in the occult stage of lung cancer often do not have symptoms, though a persistent cough may be an indication.The five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with occult stage non-small cell lung cancer is 60 - 80 percent.

What is occult stage lung cancer?

In occult-stage NSCLC, cancer cells are found in the sputum (mucus from the lungs), but tumors are not immediately visible. Patients in the occult stage of lung cancer often do not have symptoms, though a persistent cough may be an indication.

When cancer cells are identified, tumors can be located with imaging tools such as:

  • Chest X-Ray
  • MRI
  • CT Scan
  • Bronchoscopy

At CTCA®, we use PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography), which combines two imaging technologies in one to detect small tumors in the lungs. Combining PET/CT technology reveals where healthy lung tissue ends and the tumor begins. A PET scan also reveals cancerous cells before any structural changes are present. This precisely pinpoints tumors, so that we can properly diagnose and stage the disease, and focus strictly on treating the cancerous tissues.

After the tumor is located (if it can be located), treatment is determined after the tumor is staged, using the TNM staging system.

TNM categories of occult stage

An occult stage NSCLC diagnosis occurs in conjunction with the following TNM categories:

  • TX: Cancer cells were spotted, but no tumor can be located.
  • N0: The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
  • M0: There cancer has not spread to organs or other areas.

Common treatment for occult-stage NSCLC

Treatment for occult-stage NSCLC depends on the patient’s overall health. Occult tumors may sometimes be removed with surgery.

We also provide therapies to ease the symptoms that may be associated with NSCLC, while improving your quality of life.

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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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.