In medicine, lung cancer staging is the assessment of the extent to which a lung cancer has spread from its original source. As with most cancers, staging is an important determinant of treatment and prognosis. In general, more advanced stages of cancer are less amenable to treatment and have a worse prognosis.
The initial evaluation of non-small cell lung cancer staging uses the TNM classification. This based on the size of the primary tumor, lymph node involvement, and distant metastasis. After this, using the TNM descriptors, a group is assigned, ranging from occult cancer, through stage 0, IA (one-A), IB, IIA, IIB, IIIA, IIIB to IV (four). This stage group assists with the choice of treatment and estimate of prognosis.
There are several methods by which this assessment is made. They are broadly classified into non-invasive techniques, which generally involve medical imaging of the lungs such as computer tomography (CT) scans and PET scans, and invasive techniques such as biopsy and surgery. Invasive techniques provide additional information because tissue samples can be seen microscopically to confirm presence of cancer cells (as opposed to enlargement of tissues due to other causes such as infection) and to determine the type of lung cancer and its grade.
Staging may also be categorized as either clinical or as pathological/surgical staging. Clinical staging is performed prior to definitive surgery. It is based on the results of imaging studies (such as CT scans ) and biopsy results (i.e clinical staging does include the results of biopsy, an "invasive technique.") Pathological staging is also called surgical staging and reflects not only the results of non-surgical biopsy, but is evaluated either intra- or post-operatively and is based on the combined results of surgical and clinical findings, including surgical sampling of thoracic lymph nodes.
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Famous quotes containing the words lung cancer, staging, lung and/or cancer:
“Dylan used to sound like a lung cancer victim singing Woody Guthrie. Now he sounds like a Rolling Stone singing Immanuel Kant.”
—Also quoted in Robert Shelton, No Direction Home, ch. 2, Prophet Without Honor (1986)
“Such were the first rude beginnings of a town. They spoke of the practicability of a winter road to the Moosehead Carry, which would not cost much, and would connect them with steam and staging and all the busy world. I almost doubted if the lake would be there,the self-same lake,preserve its form and identity, when the shores should be cleared and settled; as if these lakes and streams which explorers report never awaited the advent of the citizen.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“Lord, confound this surly sister,
Blight her brow with blotch and blister,
Cramp her larynx, lung and liver,
In her guts a galling give her.”
—J.M. (John Millington)
“I wish more and more that health were studied half as much as disease is. Why, with all the endowment of research against cancer is no study made of those who are free from cancer? Why not inquire what foods they eat, what habits of body and mind they cultivate? And why never study animals in health and natural surroundings? why always sickened and in an environment of strangeness and artificiality?”
—Sarah N. Cleghorn (19761959)