Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer is more lethal and widespread than small cell lung cancer, and the rate of its growth and spread is more gradual. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a heterogeneous aggregate of histologies. The most common histologies are epidermoid or squamous carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma. These histologies are often classified together because approaches to diagnosis, staging, prognosis, and treatment are similar.

A traditional staging system is used for non-small cell lung cancer. This tumor has many stages and the fact that it grows more slowly than small cell lung cancer that is why the traditional staging system is used.

Occult Stage: In this stage, the cancer cells are found in the sputum, but the tumor cannot be detected in the lung. Lung cancer found at this early stage is often cured by surgery.
Stage 0: In this stage, the cancer is present in the local area of the lung in only a few cells and has not yet grown through the top lining of the lung and treatment may well be surgery or photodynamic therapy.
Stage I: The stage represents the tumor is present in the lung tissue and is surrounded by normal tissue. Treatment may well consist of one of the following:

  • Surgery.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Clinical trials of chemotherapy.
  • Clinical trials of chemo prevention.
  • Clinical trials of photodynamic therapy.

Stage II: In this stage, the cancer has grown to involve the nearby lymph nodes. Treatment may consist of:

  • Surgery to remove the tumour and lymph nodes.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Surgery and/or radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy.

Stage IIIA: In this stage, the cancer has now spread to the chest wall or diaphragm and / or to the lymph nodes in the area separating the two lungs. It could also have spread to the lymph nodes on the other side of the chest or in the neck.
In stage IIIA, the cancer can at times be treated with surgery, but treatment will usually consist of the following:

  • Surgery.
  • Chemotherapy and other treatments.
  • Surgery and radiation treatment.
  • Radiation treatment alone.
  • Laser therapy and/or internal radiation treatment.

Stage IIIB: In this stage, the cancer spreads to the chest wall and probably the diaphragm near the lung. It may also have spread to the lymph nodes in the area separating the two lungs and to the lymph nodes on the other side of the chest or in the neck. Stage IIIB cancer is usually inoperable. Treatment may be one of the following:

  • Radiation treatment alone.
  • Chemotherapy plus radiation treatment.
  • Chemotherapy plus radiation treatment followed by surgery.
  • Chemotherapy alone.

Stage IV: In this stage, the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Treatment usually includes the following:

  • Radiation treatment.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
  • Laser therapy and/or internal radiation treatment.

Recurrent: The cancer has returned (recurred) after previous treatment. Treatment can include the following:

  • Radiation therapy to control symptoms from the cancer.
  • Chemotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy with radiation treatment.
  • Surgery to remove the tumour.
  • Laser therapy or internal radiation treatment.
  • Radio-surgery.

A Guide To Know The Survival Rate In Different Stages For Individuals Going Through Non-small Cell Lung Cancer


5- year survival rate









These 5-year rates are based on patients diagnosed and originally treated more than 5 years ago, so the survival rate nowadays should be more promising.


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