Occult (hidden) stage

In the occult (hidden) stage, cancer cannot be seen by imaging or bronchoscopy. Cancer cells are found in sputum or bronchial washings (a sample of cells taken from inside the airways that lead to the lungs). Cancer may have spread to other parts of the body.

Stage 0

Abnormal cells are found in the lining of the airways. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue. Stage 0 may be adenocarcinoma in situ (AIS) or squamous cell carcinoma in situ (SCIS).

Stage IA

The tumor is in the lung only and is 3 centimeters or smaller. Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage IB

The tumor is larger than 3 centimeters but not larger than 4 centimeters and has not spread to the lymph nodes.

or

The tumor is 4 centimeters or smaller and one or more of the following is found:

  • Cancer has spread to the main bronchus, but has not spread to the carina.
  • Cancer has spread to the innermost layer of the membrane that covers the lung.
  • Part of the lung or the whole lung has collapsed or has developed pneumonitis.

Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage IIA

The tumor is larger than 4 centimeters but not larger than 5 centimeters, has not spread to the lymph nodes and one or more of the following may be found:

  • Cancer has spread to the main bronchus, but has not spread to the carina.
  • Cancer has spread to the innermost layer of the membrane that covers the lung.
  • Part of the lung or the whole lung has collapsed or has developed pneumonitis.

Stage IIB

The tumor is 5 centimeters or smaller and cancer has spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor. The lymph nodes with cancer are in the lung or near the bronchus. Also, one or more of the following may be found:

  • Cancer has spread to the main bronchus, but has not spread to the carina.
  • Cancer has spread to the innermost layer of the membrane that covers the lung.
  • Part of the lung or the whole lung has collapsed or has developed pneumonitis.

or

Cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes and one or more of the following is found:

  • The tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but not larger than 7 centimeters.
  • There are one or more separate tumors in the same lobe of the lung as the primary tumor.
  • Cancer has spread to any of the following:
  • The membrane that lines the inside of the chest wall.
  • Chest wall.
  • The nerve that controls the diaphragm.
  • Outer layer of tissue of the sac around the heart.

Stage IIIA

The tumor is 5 centimeters or smaller and cancer has spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor. The lymph nodes with cancer are around the trachea or where the trachea divides into the bronchi. Also, one or more of the following may be found:

  • Cancer has spread to the main bronchus, but has not spread to the carina.
  • Cancer has spread to the innermost layer of the membrane that covers the lung.
  • Part of the lung or the whole lung has collapsed or has developed pneumonitis.

or

Cancer has spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor. The lymph nodes with cancer are in the lung or near the bronchus. Also, one or more of the following is found:

  • The tumor is larger than 5 centimeters but not larger than 7 centimeters.
  • There are one or more separate tumors in the same lobe of the lung as the primary tumor.
  • Cancer has spread to any of the following:
  • The membrane that lines the inside of the chest wall.
  • Chest wall.
  • The nerve that controls the diaphragm.
  • Outer layer of tissue of the sac around the heart.

or

Cancer may have spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor. The lymph nodes with cancer are in the lung or near the bronchus. Also, one or more of the following is found:

  • The tumor is larger than 7 centimeters.
  • There are one or more separate tumors in a different lobe of the lung with the primary tumor.
  • The tumor is any size and cancer has spread to any of the following:
  • Trachea.
  • Carina.
  • Esophagus.
  • Breastbone or backbone.
  • Diaphragm.
  • Heart.
  • Major blood vessels that lead to or from the heart.
  • Nerve that controls the larynx (voice box).

Stage IIIB

The tumor is 5 centimeters or smaller and cancer has spread to lymph nodes above the collarbone on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor or to any lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest as the primary tumor. Also, one or more of the following may be found:

  • Cancer has spread to the main bronchus, but has not spread to the carina.
  • Cancer has spread to the innermost layer of the membrane that covers the lung.
  • Part of the lung or the whole lung has collapsed or has developed pneumonitis.

or

The tumor may be any size and cancer has spread to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor. The lymph nodes with cancer are around the trachea or where the trachea divides into the bronchi. Also, one or more of the following is found:

  • There are one or more separate tumors in the same lobe or a different lobe of the lung with the primary tumor.
  • Cancer has spread to any of the following:
  • The membrane that lines the inside of the chest wall.
  • Chest wall.
  • The nerve that controls the diaphragm.
  • Outer layer of tissue of the sac around the heart.
  • Trachea.
  • Carina.
  • Esophagus.
  • Breastbone or backbone.
  • Diaphragm.
  • Heart.
  • Major blood vessels that lead to or from the heart.
  • Nerve that controls the larynx (voice box).

Stage IIIC

The tumor may be any size and cancer has spread to lymph nodes above the collarbone on the same side of the chest as the primary tumor or to any lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest as the primary tumor. Also, one or more of the following is found:

  • There are one or more separate tumors in the same lobe or a different lobe of the lung with the primary tumor.
  • Cancer has spread to any of the following:
  • The membrane that lines the inside of the chest wall.
  • Chest wall.
  • The nerve that controls the diaphragm.
  • Outer layer of tissue of the sac around the heart.
  • Trachea.
  • Carina.
  • Esophagus.
  • Breastbone or backbone.
  • Diaphragm.
  • Heart.
  • Major blood vessels that lead to or from the heart.
  • Nerve that controls the larynx (voice box).

 

Stage IVA

  • The tumor may be any size and cancer may have spread to the lymph nodes. One or more of the following is found:
  • There are one or more tumors in the lung that does not have the primary tumor.
  • Cancer is found in fluid around the lungs or the heart.
  • Cancer has spread to one place in an organ not near the lung, such as the brain, liver, adrenal gland, kidney, bone, sac around the heart, or to a lymph node that is not near the lung.

Stage IVB

Cancer has spread to multiple places in one or more organs that are not near the lung.

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