Lung cancer stages refer to the staging of lung cancer and how it affects the body and also the prognosis. You should know that cancer staging could be referred to a clinical staging and a pathologic stage. The so-called TNM, which refers to Tumor, Node, and Metastasis, is what we call clinical stage. The pathologic stages are somehow the same but are denoted by a small “p” or “c” before the stage. To put it in simple terms, clinical stage is used to identify the tumor at its basic sense while pathologic describes further the information gained from examinations.
What we will focus on today however, is not about the difference of those stages, what we will try to understand is the considerations in staging and also the meaning behind the stages. Here are some more info’s regarding the matter.
Staging is important because treatments are based on them. So we can say that correct staging affects prognosis and also the outcome. To get the correct diagnosis and staging, the doctor will allow some laboratory examinations. The common ones are the biopsies. It can be a sample of the actually cancer cells and check if it is malignant, benign, metastasized, etc. Currently, since most of the population is endangered of having cancer, consistent research and development of new and fast diagnostic procedures are done.
Lung Cancer Stages: The number staging system
This is a simplified staging system that is commonly used to refer the progress of the disease. This is the information most patients use and it is divided in 4 main groups.
Stage 1 – the cancer is small; less than 2 cm and it is located only in one area. Usually not treated intensively and are not easily detected.
Stage 2 – the cancer has already increased in size and may have a size of about 2 cm to 4 cm. There might be possible involvement to the lymph nodes, probably a minor irritation or infection may occur. Symptoms are not that likely, but may manifest already.
Stage 3 – the cancer is more than 4 cm, this one has a manifestation on the adjacent lymph node in one side. It can be just the only lymph node that is directly affected.
Stage 4 – this stage results with symptoms and also the cancer has any size greater than 4 cm and have metastasized on other lymph nodes and possible other organs in the body.
Doctors use this system and often break them down to sub categories or groups like, 3a, 3b etc. This simplifies the thing and also gives more detail on the treatment and as well as prognosis.
The TNM Staging system
It focuses on the TNM or tumor, nodes and metastasize factors. It can be shown as T1 N0 M0, where the numbers correspond to a certain severity. You may follow these and get a good idea on how much the progress of the cancer is. It basically tells the same information as the number staging.