Lung Cancer Home > Small Cell Lung Cancer Stages

Small cell lung cancer stages are used to describe the progression of the cancer. After a diagnosis of lung cancer has been made, it is important to determine the stage of the cancer in order to plan treatment of the disease. There are three small cell lung cancer stages: limited-stage, extensive-stage, and recurrent. Examples of tests and procedures that may be used in the staging process include a bone marrow biopsy, CT scan, PET scan, and MRI.

Small Cell Lung Cancer Stages: An Overview

After small cell lung cancer has been diagnosed, tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the chest or to other parts of the body.
The process used to determine if cancer has spread within the chest or to other parts of the body is called 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.

Staging Small Cell Lung Cancer

The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:
  • Bone marrow biopsy
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Radionuclide bone scan
  • PET scan.
Bone Marrow Biopsy
Bone marrow biopsy involves the removal of a small piece of bone and bone marrow by inserting a needle into the hipbone or breastbone. A pathologist views both the bone and the bone marrow samples under a microscope to look for signs of cancer.
CT Scan
CT scan (CAT scan) of brain, chest, and abdomen is a procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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