Stage 3 because of size?

Portal Forums Lung/Thoracic Cancer NSCLC Locally Advanced NSCLC Stage 3 because of size?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  randersam 7 months, 1 week ago.

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November 7, 2017 at 4:39 pm  #1293477    


Hi everyone. Reading the old forum helped me during the first, more desperate times after getting a loved one gets cancer diagnosis. Now that I found the new forum, I thought I would thank you for all your contributions and shoot some questions.

My dad (62yo ) was diagnosed with NSCLC adenocarcinoma, poorly differentiated, about a month ago, when he started developing symptoms of pneumonia.
CT scans and a bronchoscopy showed a 9cm (3.5 inches) mass in the superior right lobe, and we now know he has another mass in his inferior right lobe.

He has been undergoing a series of exams to determine if he can have a pneumonectomy. So far, there was no sign of mets in the CT, bone scan, and the frozen test (I’m not sure if this is how it’s called) he got during a mediastinoscopy. On Thursday, PET scan will be the last exam.

As to symptoms he has some cough, has to clear is throat frequently and feels tired. Otherwise, he feels good and his lung capacity is at 99 percent, according to the DLCO.

When oncologist saw the CT and biopsy result said his cancer was stage 3 “because of the size”, but looking at the general guidelines, my dad cancer’s T3 M0 N0. I know this is not important until he gets pathological diagnosis, however I was confused if the features of the cancer are more similar to stage 2b
Is it possible that the tumor is very agressive regarding it’s growth, but quite stable within the lung?
Should I look towards a stage 2a/b rather than 3a when considering prognosis?

November 8, 2017 at 5:07 am  #1293479    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator

Hi randersam,

Welcome to GRACE. I am sorry to hear of your father’s diagnosis, and I know this is a time of uncertainty, when you have a million questions, many of which do not have answers yet.

As far as staging, the presence of the second nodule is what classifies this as Stage IIIa. As Dr. Weiss states in his Introduction to Lung Cancer (a very informative overview if you haven’t seen already): “A tumor can also become T4 by spreading to another lobe of the lung on the same side as the primary tumor.” The stage classification is shown in the chart further down the page.

Until your dad has follow-up scans, it’s difficult to say how aggressive his cancer is. Most important will be how well he responds to treatment, so we’ll hope for a good PET scan result and a treatment plan that works well for him.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Forum moderator

Jul 2008 Wife Liz (51/never smoker) Dx Stage IV NSCLC EGFR exon 19
4 cycles Carbo/alimta, 65% shrinkage
Tarceva maintenance
Mar 2010 progression, added Alimta, stable
Sep 2010 multiple brain mets, WBR
Oct 2010 large pericardial effusion, tamponade
Jan 2011 progression, start abraxane
Jun 2011-New liver, brain mets, add Tarceva
Oct 2011-Dx Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; pulsed Tarceva
At rest Nov 4 2011
Since then:

November 8, 2017 at 11:53 am  #1293481    


Thanks Jim for the information. I haven’t considered his separate nodule as a factor in staging. Now it makes sense.

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