Overview

Accurate staging of non-small cell lung (NSCLC) cancer is essential before definitive therapy can begin. Staging is performed according to the tumor, node, metastasis (TNM) staging system. Select the following general stage of cancer in order to learn more about treatment.

Stage I: The cancer measures 5 centimeters or smaller and does not involve the lymph nodes.

Stage II: The cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes but is larger than 5 centimeters or involves structures near the lung such as the chest wall or diaphragm. NSCLC is also considered to be Stage II if it measures 7 centimeters or less and involves the lymph nodes within the lung or near the bronchus.

Stage IIIA: The cancer involves lymph nodes in the space between the lungs (mediastinum) or near where the windpipe divides; is large or extensive but the only lymph node involvement is within the lung or near the bronchus; or there is no lymph node involvement but the cancer extends to other organs or tissues such as the heart, great vessels, trachea, or other lobes of the lung.

Stage IIIB: The cancer involves lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest or above the collar bone, or is extensive (involves organs such as the heart or trachea) and also involves lymph nodes in the center of the chest (mediastinum) or near where the windpipe divides.

Stage IV: Cancer is found in both lungs, in the fluid that surrounds the lungs or heart, or has spread to other parts of the body such as the liver, brain, or bones.

Recurrent/Relapsed: Cancer has progressed or returned (recurred/relapsed) following an initial treatment with surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.

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