About 85% to 90% of all lung cancers are non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (source ACR). There are 3 main subtypes of NSCLC. The cells in these subtypes differ in size, shape, and chemical make-up when looked at under a microscope. However, they are grouped together because the approach to treatment and prognosis (outcome) are often very similar. Recently, these main subtypes are less and less associated together as they respond differently more and more to standard treatments calling for a change in treatments gearing more and more towards precision medicine, whenever possible.
NSCLC is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the lung in the lower airways. NSCLC doesn’t grow and spread as fast as small cell lung cancer, and it’s treated differently.
Stages of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer
Source: NCI’s website.
Doctors describe the stages of non-small cell lung cancer using the Roman numerals I, II, III, and IV. Stage II is early-stage cancer, Stage III is locally advanced and Stage IV is advanced cancer that has either spread to the other lung or to other parts of the body, such as the bones, the liver etc…
Lung Cancer staging non- small cells:
This 3D medical animation begins with a detailed description of the staging or progression of the lung cancer. It describes the occult stage where cancer cells are in the body fluid but no tumor can be seen in the lungs. Stage 0 occurs when cancer cells are found in the airway lining. It goes to demonstrate Stage IA, IB, IIA, IIB which are considered invasive when the cancer cells have invaded the airway lining.
Treatment options can be offered depending on the stage of the tumor. Generally, in case of early stage tumor, surgery is the main option of treatment that can be preceded or followed by chemotherapy based on the tumor characteristics.
In case of locally advanced tumor, the treatment is usually agreed upon and defined by a multidisciplinary board that includes a surgeon, a radiotherapist and a medical oncologist. The chosen treatment option can be a combination or a sequence of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy based on patient by patient review. In case of advanced disease the treatment can be either chemotherapy or targeted therapy.
Please discuss with you doctor for further and more detailed information