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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - Stages of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Stage IIIA

Stage IIIA is divided into three sections depending on the size of the tumor, where the tumor is found, and which lymph nodes have cancer (if any).

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Stage IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (1). Cancer has spread to certain lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor. The cancer may have spread to (a) the main bronchus; (b) lung lining, chest wall lining, or chest wall; (c) diaphragm; and/or (d) membrane around the heart; and/or (e) there may be one or more separate tumors in the same lobe of the lung. Cancer may have spread to the nerve that controls the diaphragm, and part or all of the lung may have collapsed or become inflamed (not shown).

(1) Cancer has spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the tumor. The lymph nodes with cancer are near the sternum (chest bone) or where the bronchus enters the lung. Also:

  • The tumor may be any size.
  • Part of the lung (where the trachea joins the bronchus) or the whole lung may have collapsed or developed pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung).
  • There may be one or more separate tumors in the same lobe of the lung.
  • Cancer may have spread to any of the following:
    • Main bronchus, but not the area where the trachea joins the bronchus.
    • Chest wall.
    • Diaphragm and the nerve that controls it.
    • Membrane around the lung or lining the chest wall.
    • Membrane around the heart.

or

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Stage IIIA lung cancer (2). Cancer has spread to certain lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor. The cancer may have spread to (a) the main bronchus; (b) the lung lining, chest wall lining, or chest wall; (c) diaphragm; (d) heart and/or membrane around the it; (e) major blood vessels that lead to or from the heart; (f) trachea; (g) esophagus; (h) sternum; and/or (i) carina; and/or (j) there may be one or more separate tumors in any lobe of the same lung. Cancer may have spread to the nerves that control the diaphragm and larynx, and the whole lung may have collapsed or become inflamed (not shown).

(2) Cancer has spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the tumor. The lymph nodes with cancer are within the lung or near the bronchus. Also:

  • The tumor may be any size.
  • The whole lung may have collapsed or developed pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung).
  • There may be one or more separate tumors in any of the lobes of the lung with cancer.
  • Cancer may have spread to any of the following:
    • Main bronchus, but not the area where the trachea joins the bronchus.
    • Chest wall.
    • Diaphragm and the nerve that controls it.
    • Membrane around the lung or lining the chest wall.
    • Heart or the membrane around it.
    • Major blood vessels that lead to or from the heart.
    • Trachea.
    • Esophagus.
    • Nerve that controls the larynx (voice box).
    • Sternum (chest bone) or backbone.
    • Carina (where the trachea joins the bronchi).
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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