Stages of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer
After lung cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the lungs or to other parts of the body. continued...
Mediastinoscopy. A mediastinoscope is
inserted into the chest through an incision above the breastbone to look for
abnormal areas between the lungs. A mediastinoscope is a thin, tube-like
instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a cutting
tool. Tissue samples may be taken from lymph nodes on the right side of the
chest and checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. In an anterior
mediastinotomy (Chamberlain procedure), the incision is made beside the
breastbone to remove tissue samples from the lymph nodes on the left side of
- Anterior mediastinotomy: A surgical procedure to
look at the organs and tissues between the lungs and between the breastbone and
spine for abnormal areas. An incision (cut) is made next to the breastbone and
an endoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted into the chest. Tissue and
lymph node samples may be taken for biopsy. This is also called the Chamberlain
- Bone scan: A procedure to check if there are
rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells, in the bone. A very small amount
of radioactive material is injected into a vein and travels through the
bloodstream. The radioactive material collects in the bones and is detected by
The following stages are used for non-small cell lung cancer:
Occult (hidden) stage
In the occult (hidden) stage, cancer cells are found in sputum (mucus
coughed up from the lungs), but no tumor can be found in the lung by imaging or
bronchoscopy, or the primary tumor is too small to be checked.
Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ)
In stage 0 (carcinoma in situ), cancer is in the lung only and has not
spread beyond the innermost lining of the lung.
Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB:
- Stage IA: The tumor is in the lung only and is 3
centimeters or smaller.
- Stage IB: One or more of the following is true:
- The tumor is larger than 3 centimeters.
- Cancer has spread to the main bronchus of the
lung, and is at least 2 centimeters from the carina (where the trachea joins
- Cancer has spread to the innermost layer of the
membrane that covers the lungs.
- The tumor partly blocks the bronchus or
bronchioles and part of the lung has collapsed or developed pneumonitis
(inflammation of the lung).