Read about what staging means and how the different types of lung cancer are staged.

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Understanding Lung Cancer booklet 2022

Download Section Three of our lung cancer booklet: Staging lung cancer

  • Staging is used to describe:
    • the size of the cancer
    • if there is cancer in the lymph nodes
    • if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body
  • Lung cancer is given a number from stage 1 to stage 4. The lower the number, the less your cancer has spread.
  • Small cell lung cancer can be further divided into two stages:
    • Limited disease
    • Extensive disease

  • Ka whakamārama te whakawāhanga:
    •  te rahi o te matepukupuku
    • mehemea he matepukupuku kei ngā tīpona waitinana
    • mehemea kua rauroha te matepukupuku ki wāhi kē o te tinana
  • Ka hoatuna he nama mō te matepukupuku pūkahukahu mai i te wāhanga 1 ki te wāhanga 4. Mena he iti te nama, he iti ake te rauroha o tō matepukupuku.
  • Ka taea te whakawehewehe anō i te matepukupuku pūkahukahu pūtau-iti ki ngā whakawāhanga e rua:
    • Tahumaero here
    • Tahumaero whānui

Staging non-small cell lung cancer

Staging uses the 'TNM' system to describe:

  • The size of your cancer (T)
  • If there is cancer in your lymph nodes (N)
  • If the cancer has spread to other parts of your body (M)

Your treatment team will give the cancer a number from stage 1 to stage 4.

The lower the number, the less the cancer has spread. A higher number, such as stage 4, means a more serious cancer.

The stages are:

Stage 1 = Early lung cancer

Stage 2 = Loco-regional lung cancer

Stage 3 = Locally advanced lung cancer or regionally advanced lung cancer

Stage 4 = Advanced lung cancer

Staging small cell lung cancer

Small cell lung cancer can be divided into two stages, or doctors may also use the 'TNM' system:

  • Limited disease: the cancer can be seen only in one lung and/or nearby lymph
    nodes on the same side of the chest
  • Extensive disease: the cancer has spread outside the lung, within the chest
    area, or in fluid around the lungs, or to other parts of the body.
Last updated: December 22, 2022