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When your care team determines your diagnosis, they also assess what stage of cancer you have. Staging describes:
Size of the tumor
Location of the cancer
Whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to where
A cancer diagnosis and its staging help you and your doctor make decisions about your treatment plan. This information is also helpful in determining your prognosis (probable outcome based on the experience of others).
The stages of lung cancer are:
Stage 1: Cancer is found in the lung, but not progressed to the lymph nodes or distant organs. Surgery is recommended and perhaps drug therapy if the tumor is large.
Stage 2: Cancer has progressed from the lungs to nearby lymph nodes. Surgery followed by drug therapy is recommended.
Stage 3: Cancer is in the lung and has progressed to distant lymph nodes. Chemotherapy or chemoradiation may be recommended before and after surgery. Targeted therapies may be recommended after surgery.
Stage 4 (Metastatic): Cancer has progressed beyond the lung to distant lymph nodes and other organs. This advanced stage of cancer is commonly managed by drug therapy alone.
Recurrent: Cancer that has come back after treatment. This may be managed by some combination of surgery, drug therapy, and radiation therapy.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.