Which stage of lung cancer do you have?

 


Lung cancer staging means finding out the location and size of the tumor and where the lung cancer has spread. These three factors are sometimes referred to as the TNM classification system. Staging helps determine what treatment options you have. Select an option to learn more about what each stage means.

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Lung cancer staging means finding out the location and size of the tumor and where the lung cancer has spread. These three factors are sometimes referred to as the TNM classification system, which stands for tumor (size and location), node (the number of nearby lymph nodes that have cancer) and metastasis (where in the body the cancer has spread). Staging helps determine what treatment options you have.

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) stages range from one to four, usually expressed in Roman numerals (I through IV). The lower the lung cancer stage, the less the cancer has spread. Some non-small cell lung cancers are found in the very early stages. If cancer cells are found in your sputum (a combination of saliva and mucus you cough up), but no tumor is found it is called occult. There is usually no treatment recommended for this stage of NSCLC. Your doctor will likely watch you closely to see if a tumor ever grows.

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is described using two stages: limited and extensive. Limited stage SCLC has spread less than extensive. Combined type lung cancer is usually staged like SCLC.

Learn more at Lung.org/lung-cancer-staging