Lung Cancer Home > Lung Cancer Stages

Stages of lung cancer are used as a means of expressing if the cancer has spread (and if so, how far it has spread). It is important to determine which of the stages best describes a particular tumor to plan treatment and to monitor progress. There are two types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, and each type has different staging criteria. There are three small cell lung cancer stages: limited-stage, extensive-stage, and recurrent. The non-small cell stages are occult, stage 0, stage I, stage II, stage III, stage IV, and recurrent.

Stages of Lung Cancer: An Overview

After a lung cancer diagnosis has been made, tests are conducted to determine if cancer cells have spread within the lungs or to other parts of the body (see Lung Cancer Staging).
 
The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the lungs or to other parts of the body is called lung cancer staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of lung cancer. It is important to know the stage in order to plan lung cancer treatment and to monitor progress.
 
There are two types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Each type of lung cancer has different staging criteria.
 
Specific non-small cell lung cancer stages include:
 
  • Occult
  • Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ)
  • Stage I
  • Stage II
  • Stage III
  • Stage IV
  • Recurrent.
     
Specific stages of small cell cancer include:
 
  • Limited-stage small cell lung cancer
  • Extensive-stage small cell lung cancer
  • Recurrent small cell lung cancer.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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