Stages of Lung Cancer
Staging of Lung Cancer
Staging is different for non-small cell and small-cell lung cancers.
Staging for non-small cell: These cancers are staged differently for extent of disease, and for treatment.
Extent of the disease: Stages 1-4 are given, depending on the size of the tumor, its location and where the cancer might have spread outside the lung. Staging also includes the grade of the cancer (1-3) because grade is a function of how aggressive the tumor cells are and how fast they are likely to spread.
Staging for treatment:
- Early stage is amenable to surgery with curative intent. You may still need chemotherapy and radiation.
- Locally advanced is usually treated with chemoradiation, chemotherapy and radiation given together for better effect of each.
- Metastatic disease is treatable with chemotherapy, targeted or immune therapy and radiation to some areas. If lung cancer has metastasized to the brain, Gamma Knife may be a potential therapy.
Staging for small-cell lung cancer
These cancers are divided into:
- Limited-stage receives chemotherapy. Radiation may be added because of the potential for cure.
- Extensive-stage receives chemotherapy.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
- The stage of the cancer (the size of the tumor and whether it is in the lung only or has spread to other places in the body).
- The type of lung cancer.
- Whether the cancer has mutations (changes) in certain genes, such as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene or the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene.
- Whether there are signs and symptoms such as coughing or trouble breathing.
- The patient’s general health.
Finding lung cancer early gives is a better chance of management or recovery. However, it is often in an advanced stage when diagnosed. At later stages, lung cancer can be treated but rarely cured. Clinical trials are a good option for getting the latest treatment.