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Staging of Lung Cancer

The stage of a tumor refers to the extent to which a cancer has spread in the body. Staging involves both evaluation of a tumor’s size as well as the presence or absence of metastases in the lymph nodes or in other organs. Staging is important for determining how a particular tumor should be treated, since lung cancer therapies are geared toward specific tumor stages. Staging of a tumor is also critical in estimating the prognosis of given patient, with higher stage tumors generally having a worse prognosis than lower-stage-tumors.

Since there are two types of lung cancer, each of the types have their several lung cancer staging.

NSCLC (Non Small Cell Lung Cancer)

  1. Stage I: The earliest stage of lung cancer. The tumor is found only in one lung and has not spread to any lymph nodes.
  2. Stage II: The tumor has spread to lymph nodes that are contained within the surrounding lung
  3. Stage IIIa:  The tumor has spread to the lymph nodes outside of the lung, to those the tracheal area, including the chest wall and diaphragm on the same side as the cancer started.
  4. Stage IIIb: The tumor has spread to the lymph nodes on the opposite lung or in the neck.
  5. Stage IV: The tumor has spread to other parts of the lungs or distantly throughout the body.

SCLC (Small Cell Lung Cancer)

* Limited stage (LS) SCLC refers to cancer that is confined to its area of origin in the chest.
* In extensive-stage (ES) SCLC, the cancer has spread beyond the chest to other parts of the body.

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