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Staging Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

This type of tumour may have many stages because it grows more slowly than small cell lung cancer.

Occult Stage: Cancer cells are found in sputum at this stage, but no tumour can be detected in the lung. Lung cancer found at this early stage is often cured by surgery.

Stage 0: Cancer is found just in a local area of the lung and only in a few of the cells. It hasn’t yet grown through the top lining of the lung and treatment may well be surgery or photodynamic therapy.

Stage I cancer is found only in the lung and is surrounded by normal tissue. Treatment may well consist of one of the following:

    Surgery
    Radiation therapy
    Clinical trials of chemotherapy
    Clinical trials of chemo-prevention
    Clinical trials of photodynamic therapy

Stage II cancer has increased to incorporate the nearby lymph nodes. Treatment may consist of:
Surgery to remove the tumour and lymph nodes

    Radiation therapy
    Surgery and/or radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy

Stage IIIA The cancer has now spread to the chest wall or diaphragm and/or to the lymph nodes in the area separating the two lungs. It could also have spread to the lymph nodes on the other side of the chest or in the neck.

Stage IIIA The cancer can at times be treated with surgery, but treatment will usually consist of the following:

    Surgery
    Chemotherapy and other treatments
    Surgery and radiation treatment
    Radiation treatment alone
    Laser therapy and/or internal radiation treatment

Stage IIIB The cancer has now spread to the chest wall and probably the diaphragm near the lung. It may also have spread to the lymph nodes in the area separating the two lungs and to the lymph nodes on the other side of the chest or in the neck. Stage IIIB cancer is usually inoperable. Treatment may be one of the following:

    Radiation treatment alone
    Chemotherapy plus radiation treatment
    Chemotherapy plus radiation treatment followed by surgery
    Chemotherapy alone

Stage IV The cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Treatment usually includes the following:

    Radiation treatment
    Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy and radiation treatment
    Laser therapy and/or internal radiation treatment
    Recurrent: The cancer has returned (recurred) after previous treatment. Treatment can include the following:
    Radiation therapy to control symptoms from the cancer
    Chemotherapy
    Chemotherapy with radiation treatment
    Surgery to remove the tumour
    Laser therapy or internal radiation treatment
    Radio-surgery