Stage 3 Non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

What is stage 3 non small cell lung cancer?

At stage 3 non small cell lung cancer the tumors are larger than 3cm wide and have spread into the lymph nodes in the chest or in other structures outside the lung. The affected lymph nodes are also restricted to the same side of the body as the tumor. Stage 3 lung cancer can also be divided into stage 3A or stage 3B based on the TNM staging.

Picture of a lung cancer patient's screening being held by a doctor

Read more on what is lung cancer here

Stage 3A

In stage 3A lung cancer there are three main subcategories which are categorized based on the TNM system of staging.

In this stage , one or more of the following features will be present:

T1-T3,N2,M0

  • The min tumor can be of any size which ranges from 3cm (T1) to 7cm (T2)
  • The tumor has not grown into the spaces of the heart, esophagus, large blood vessels near the heart, trachea, backbone or carina.
  • Cancer has spread into the lymph nodes or in the spaces between the lungs.
  • The tumor has not spread into the different lives in the initial lung.
  • The cancer he not spread to distant organs.

T3, N1,M0

At this stage the cancer has spread into lymph nodes of the lung or in the location at which the bronchi connects to the lungs and the lymph nodes are also located on the same side of the cancer. At this stage, one or more of the following features will be present:

  • The tumor is larger than 7 cm.
  • The cancer has spread into the main bronchus within 2 cm from the carina.
  • Two or more tumors are present within the main tumorous lung.
  • The cancer has grown into the the spaces of the heart, esophagus, large blood vessels near the heart, trachea, backbone or carina.
  • The airways of the lungs are blocked which lead to a collapsed or inflamed lung.

T4, N0 orN1,M0

At this stage the cancer may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes but has not spread to the distant organs. At this stage, one or more of the following features will be present:
The tumor of any size has grown into the the spaces of the heart, esophagus, large blood vessels near the heart, trachea, backbone or carina
Two or more tumors are present within the main tumorous lung

Stage 3B

At stage 3B, there are two categories which are categorized using the TNM scale which further looks into if the cancer has spread into the lymph node of not and also looks at the size of the tumor. However at this stage, the cancer has not spread to distant organs.

T, N3, M0

  • The tumor can be of any size.
  • The cancer has spread into the lymph nodes of the collar bone on either side or has spread into the lymph nodes on the opposite side of the main tumor.
  • The cancer may or may not have grown into the nearby structures or caused a collapsed lung.

T4,N2,M0

  • The tumor can be of any size and has grown into the spaces of the spaces of the heart, esophagus, large blood vessels near the heart, trachea, backbone or carina.
  • Two or more tumors are present in the different lobes of the same lung.
  • Affected lymph nodes are on the same side if the tumor.
  • Tumor has spread into the lymph nodes around the carina, or in the space between the lungs.

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