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Staging Lung Cancer

An important test is to find out the staging of your cancer. Staging involves a variety of tests that can help show your doctors how advanced the tumour is by its size and the kind of cell it is.

The TNM staging system is used for most types of cancer. It gives your doctor critical information to help determine your prognosis and the right treatment for you.

A number from 0 to 4 (Roman numerals I, II, III, IV) is added to each letter to describe the size of the main tumour and the degree to which the cancer has spread.

The TNM combinations indicate the stage of your tumour. This information helps the doctor prepare you for what needs to be done next. Always ask him or her questions if you have any. The more you understand, the more you can partner with your doctor. Here are general descriptions of stage grouping and what they mean.

Learn more about the TNM system here http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/diagnosis-and-treatment/staging-and-grading/staging/tnm-staging

STAGE GROUPINGS

Stage 0

The cancer hasn't spread to other tissues and is still within the lining of the lung.

STAGE I

Cancer can be surgically removed. The tumour has not spread to any lymph nodes and is less than 5 cm wide.

STAGE II

The tumours are slightly larger and may or may not have spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the lung. Surgery may help. Other treatments may be necessary.

STAGE III

Tumour(s) may have spread to the outside of the lung and/or into one or more lymph nodes. Surgery may not be possible to remove the cancer. Other treatments will likely be needed.

STAGE IV

The cancer has spread well beyond the lung. It's throughout the body into other organs and the bloodstream. Surgery may not be an option.

Partnering with your healthcare team at this stage is critical. It can help you navigate through information that can feel overwhelming. Ask to find out what type and stage of lung cancer you have and what it means.