In order to know the kind of treatment that a cancer patient must undergo, the medical team must first identify the stage of lung cancer being experienced by the patient. Once a person undergoes the clinical staging of cancer, diagnosis is being done.
Staging is the process of describing the extent of the disease. Cancer staging is based on the pathology report coming from a series of diagnostic examinations.
One of the most common forms of diagnostic exam is bronchoscopy which uses a small device allowing the surgeon to view both lungs in order to identify how far the cancer has metastasized.
Below are the four stages of lung cancer which are evident in people who are affected with the disease.
Stage 1 Lung Cancer
Here, the cancer is still localized which means that the disease concentrates mainly on the area where it started to grow. There is absence of cancer on the adjacent lymph nodes and it has not reached any kind of metastasis to other parts of the body.
The first stage of lung cancer can be divided into two stages namely Stage IA and Stage IB.
Stage IA manifests that the tumor is sized to about three centimeters, even less and is fairly small.
Stage IB displays that the tumor will be larger than three centimeters and to be specific, it is growing within the bronchus. In this stage, the cancer may cause the lungs to partially collapse.
Here, the stage is divided into two: Stage IIA and Stage IIB.
In Stage IIA, the cancer is small although it is starting to spread to the adjacent lymph nodes. While in Stage IIB, the disease is at least three centimeters wherein there could either be an apparent metastasis to the lymph nodes or, instead of affecting the lymph nodes, it has spread to the surrounding tissue.
In Stage 3 lung cancer, it could either be IIIA or IIIB.
Stage IIIA indicates that the cancer has spread further to the lymph nodes from the lung being affected or the cancer is apparent in the nodes that is near the affected lung and has spread to the tissue surrounding it.
In Stage IIIB, the cancer will occur if there is a spread to the adjacent lymph nodes that is located on the other side of the chest or even above the clavicle or collarbone. Stage IIIB can also happen if the disease has spread to a different structure within the chest like the heart.
This is considered as the most advanced stage of the disease. Here, the lung cancer has affected another lung lobe or has already reached another part of the body, like the brain, aside from the inside of the chest like the stomach and even the liver.
In order to treat lung cancer, a variety of methods can be used which is just similar to the different kinds of cancers which may occur in the body, although, in order to find the appropriate treatment, one should be diagnosed first with the correct staging based on the four stages of lung cancer. Some of the treatments include surgical removal of the cancer-affected lung, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The percentage of success in treating the cancer will depend on the extent that the cancer has affected a person’s lung.