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Cancer care: Lung cancer

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Lung cancer treatment

Your lung cancer treatment

Our patients work with their care team to identify the lung cancer treatments best for them.

Your lung cancer treatment plan considers the tumor's location and size, if the cancer has spread, and your general health.

Choosing the best lung cancer treatment plan may be overwhelming. That's why we encourage our patients to seek a second opinion.

Lung cancer treatments

These options may be a part of your lung cancer treatment plan.

Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)
Radiation therapy

Dealing with cancer treatment side effects

Cancer treatment can cause many side effects. Here's how to deal with some common side effects.

Source: Virginia Piper Cancer Institute; Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Laser Services
Reviewed by: Katie Schwarzkopf, manager, Lung Program at theVirginia Piper Cancer Institute - Abbott
First Published: 09/11/2009
Last Reviewed: 04/10/2013

Lung cancer stages

When diagnosed with lung cancer, you will be told at what stage the cancer is.

Lung cancer stages outline how "bad" or "advanced" your disease is. They can help you and your care team evaluate what lung cancer treatments may help.

Our doctors use the TNM staging system to define lung cancer stages.

T is for "tumor."
N is for "lymph nodes."
M is for "metastatic spread."

Numbers or letters appearing after T, N and M give more details about lung cancer stages.

  • "0" is the earliest stage of lung cancer.
  • Numbers increase in severity until four.
  • "4" is final stage lung cancer.

Final stage lung cancer

In general, early stage cancers have a better prognosis than late stage cancers. That is why early lung cancer detection is important.

In the final stages of lung cancer, the cancer can be any size. It may or may not be in nearby lymph nodes. The cancer has spread to other organs.

In final stage lung cancer, hospice and palliative care become central to a lung cancer treatment plan.

Source: American Cancer Society, How Is Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Staged?; How Is Small Cell Lung Cancer Staged?; Virginia Piper Cancer Institute
Reviewed by: Paula Colwell, RN, manager, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute Lung Cancer Program
First Published: 09/30/2009
Last Reviewed: 09/11/2009