The stage of a cancer describes its size, position and whether it has spread beyond where it started in the body. Knowing the extent of the cancer helps the doctors decide on the most appropriate treatment.
Generally, cancer is divided into four stages:
- Stage 1 The cancer is small and localised.
- Stages 2 or 3 The cancer has spread into surrounding areas.
- Stage 4 The cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
If the cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, this is known as secondary or metastatic cancer .
If the cancer comes back after initial treatment it’s known as recurrent cancer.
The current staging system is used for both small cell and non-small cell lung cancers. This aims to help doctors plan the best treatment for people with lung cancer. It can also help to give an idea of the likely outcome of treatment.
We have information about the current staging system.