Understanding the 4 stages of lung cancer can help you to figure out how big the problem is and how far it may have spread. Knowing the stage of lung cancer is crucial because doctors will determine the appropriate treatment for the disease according to the stage of the cancer. The examination, scans, and tests that are used to diagnose cancer should give insights into the clinical stage. After surgery the doctor may be able to find out more about the stage in question, and the results given may be combined with other factors to determine the full extent of your cancer.
All staging solutions used to identify cancer will include information about the size of the tumor, whether there is cancer in the lymph nodes, and whether the disease has spread into other areas of the body.
Diagnosing Based on the 4 Stages of Lung Cancer:
The numbered solution for staging lung cancer is the most simple and commonly used approach within the U.S. Though there are other ways to stage the extent of a cancerous growth, the numbered stage is often the easiest way for doctors to ensure that patients understand the stage of their cancer and their prognosis.
The 4 stages of lung cancer range from the least severe stage of the disease, to the most severe – at stage 4. At the final stage of lung cancer, it can no longer be cured, but it can sometimes be managed with treatment.
The Stages in Detail:
In stage 1 of lung cancer, the cancer is still localized and small, which means that it has not spread to lymph nodes in other parts of the body. This stage can be divided into 1A and 1B. The first segment, which is 1A, means that the tumor is less than 3 cm in size. Later, it the cancer has progressed to stage 1B, it means that the cancer is around 3 and 5 cm in size, and may have spread into the main airway of the lung, or the membrane that covers the lung.
The second stage of lung cancer is also divided into 2A and 2B. In stage 2A, the cancer will be between 5 and 7 cm in size, but there should not be any amount of cancer cells within the surrounding lymph nodes. Alternatively, some patients in stage 2A may have cancer in their lymph nodes, but the tumor will be less than 5cm in size. On the other hand, Stage 2B means that the cancer is up to 7 cm in size, and lymph nodes have been affected.
The third stage of lung cancer is also divided into 3A and 3B. During this stage, the fully affected lung may be inflamed or might have even collapsed as a result of the build up of mucus.
The fourth stage of lung cancer is the final stage. It means that the cancer might have moved into both lungs or could have spread through other parts of the body like the liver or bones. Stage four lung cancer may also cause fluid to gather around the heart or lung that contains some number of cancerous cells.