Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Stages

Stage I
In stage I, the cancer is in the lung only, with normal tissue around the tumor. Stage I is divided into stages IA and IB, based on the size of the tumor.
Stage II
In stage II, cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes or to any of the following areas:
  • Chest wall (the ribs and muscles that make up the area of the body between the neck and the abdomen)
  • Diaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen)
  • Mediastinal pleura (the thin membrane that covers the outside of the lungs in the area near the heart)
  • Parietal pericardium (the outer layer of tissue that surrounds the heart).


Stage II is divided into stage IIA and stage IIB, based on the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage III
In stage III, cancer has either:
  • Spread to the lymph nodes in the mediastinum (the middle area between the lungs that contains the heart, major blood vessels, and other structures)
  • Spread to the lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest or in the lower neck.
Stage III is divided into stage IIIA (which is sometimes treated with surgery) and stage IIIB (which is rarely treated with surgery).
Stage IV
In stage IV, cancer has spread to other parts of the body or to another lobe of the lungs.
Recurrent non-small cell lung cancer is cancer that has recurred (come back) after it has been treated. The cancer may come back in the brain, lung, or other parts of the body.
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