Staging Lung Cancer

If a diagnosis is found to be lung cancer, the doctor will want to learn the stage (or extent) of the disease. Lung cancer treatment depends on the size of the tumour and on how far it has spread. Staging is done to discover whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to what parts of the body.

Lung cancer is notorious for spreading to the brain or bones, and knowing how far it has advanced helps the doctor plan the most useful treatment. Some tests used to determine whether the cancer has spread include:

  • CAT (or CT) scan
  • MRI
  • Bone scan
  • Mediastinoscopy/Mediastinotomy

Small Cell Lung Cancer

There are three stages for small cell lung cancer. It is considered limited, extensive, or recurrent.

Limited Stage: Cancer is found in one lung and in nearby lymph nodes. Treatment may well be one of the following:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the upper body/chest
  • Chemotherapy with or without prophylactic cranial irradiation
  • Surgery followed by chemotherapy with or without prophylactic cranial irradiation
  • Clinical trials testing new drugs and new treatments

Extensive Stage: Cancer has spread away from the lung to other tissues and organs in the chest and other parts of the body.
Treatment may be one of the following:

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy to the upper body/chest
  • Radiation therapy to places in the body where the cancer has spread
  • Clinical trials testing new drugs and new treatments

Recurrent Stage: Recurrent cancer is cancer that has returned. It may reappear in the lungs or in another part of the body. Treatment for reoccurrence can include be one of the following:

  • Radiation treatment
  • Chemotherapy
  • Laser treatment, radiation therapy or surgical implant of devices to keep the airways open
  • Clinical trial testing of new drugs
Share
Tweet
+1