The stage of a tumor refers to the extent to which lung cancer has spread in the body. Staging involves both evaluation of a tumor's size, as well as the presence or absence of metastases, or the spreading of the cancer, in the lymph nodes or in other organs. Staging is important for determining how a particular tumor should be treated. Staging of a tumor is also critical in estimating the prognosis of a given patient, with higher-stage tumors having a worse prognosis than lower-stage tumors.
Doctors use several tests to accurately stage lung cancer, including blood tests, X-rays, CT scans, bone scans, and PET scans. An abnormal blood chemistry test may signal the presence of metastases in the bone or liver. Radiological procedures document the size of a tumor, as well as its spread to other organs.
As you get ready to start treatment, it’s normal to feel nervous about side effects you might face. To help you prepare, here’s a treatment-by-treatment guide to the most common ones.
Keep in mind that side effects vary even between two people on the same treatment. That's because every person -- and every cancer case -- is unique. The good news is most side effects are temporary and there are ways you can manage them.