Lung Cancer: Staging

Physicians will determine the stage of the cancer, using these criteria:

  • The size and location of the initial tumor
  • Whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes
  • Whether it has spread to other organs in the body

Lung cancer is defined as follows:

  • Stage I — The cancer remains confined to one lung
  • Stages II and III — The cancer has involved other organs in the chest or has spread to lymph glands
  • Stage IV — The cancer has moved from one lung to the other or spread outside the lung – for example, to the bone, brain, liver, or adrenal gland (located above the kidney).