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. 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

Stage 1 Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Stage I non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is split into two categories: IA and IB. The specific diagnosis depends on the size and location of the tumor. The five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with stage I lung cancer is about 60 - 80 percent. Response to treatment, health at the time of the diagnosis and quitting smoking are factors that could improve your survival rate if you are diagnosed with stage I lung cancer.

Similar to stage 0 lung cancer, stage I often does not present symptoms, and so the discovery of the cancer can occur when evaluating other symptoms or health issues. Since the cancer has not spread, other symptoms such as weight loss, pain and fatigue are not likely to occur.

Stage IA lung cancer

For patients diagnosed with stage IA non-small cell lung cancer, the cancerous tumor is 3 cm across or smaller, and it has not extended into the membranes surrounding the lungs. Stage IA lung cancer does not affect the main area of the bronchi, and has not spread to lymph nodes or other organs.

TNM categories of stage IA

A stage IA lung cancer diagnosis occurs in conjunction with the following TNM categories:

  • T1A/T1B: If the tumor is 2 cm or less across it is T1A, if it is larger than 2 cm but smaller than 3 cm, it is characterized as T1B.
  • N0: The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
  • M0: The cancer has not spread to distant organs or other areas.

Stage IB lung cancer

In patients with stage IB lung cancer, the primary tumor is larger than 3 cm, but smaller than 5 cm. In addition, the tumor has one of the following features, and is not larger than 5 cm.

  • The tumor has spread into the main bronchus, but is not within 2 cm of the carina, the cartilaginous ridged area that separates the opening of the right and left main bronchi stems.
  • The tumor has spread into the thin, serous membranes surrounding the lungs, also known as the visceral pleura.
  • The lung has partially collapsed, or developed an inflammation in the carina.

TNM categories of stage IB

  • T2A: If the tumor is larger than 3 cm but smaller than 5 cm, it is classified as T2A. If the tumor is larger than 5 cm across but smaller than 7 cm, it is considered T2B.
  • N0: The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
  • M0: The cancer has not spread to distant organs or other areas.

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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