Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (Stage 2) – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Stages and Treatment

Symptoms

Stage 2 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) may be present in a sufferer for many years before it is eventually discovered. Common symptoms of the disease are a persistent cough (smoker’s cough), hemoptysis (coughing up blood [origin from the lungs or bronchial tubes]), shortness of breath, wheezing, back pains, chest pains, and recurrent bronchitis or pneumonia.

Other symptoms such as weight loss and fatigue are less common at this early stage, and are more likely to show at a later stage as the tumor has metastasized (spread) beyond the lungs.

Diagnosis

Stage 2 NSCLC means that the tumor is no longer localized just within the lungs, but that it has spread to the nearby lymph nodes.

Stages

– 1 The cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes.

– 1A (the tumor is 3 cm or less in diameter but has spread to the nearby lymph nodes).

– 1B (the tumor is larger than 3 cm in diameter, has spread to the nearby nymph nodes, and is either present in a location near to the bronchus, or the lining of the lungs).

These stages may also be described with a system called TNM (T = tumor size, N = nodes, and M = metastasis [spread of cancer]). Example:

– 1A (T1N0M0) Meaning that the tumor is less than 3 cm (T1), with spread to the nodes (N1), and no metastasis (M0).

– 1B (T2N1M0) Meaning that the tumor is greater than 3 cm (T2), with spread to the nodes (N1), and no metastasis (M0).

– 1B (T3N0M0) Meaning that the tumor is greater than 3 cm (T3), with no nodes (N0), and no metastasis (M0), but has spread to nearby areas such as the wall of the chest, or the diaphragm.

Treatment

Surgery is usually considered as the primary option for the treatment of Stage 2 lung cancer, where removal of the tumor may be done via several different techniques depending on exactly where the tumor is located. Adjuvant chemotherapy (chemotherapy used after surgery to kill off any remaining cancerous cells) is usually recommended by doctors at this stage.

If the lung cancer is inoperable (the tumor is in a difficult position to get at, or the patient is unable to undergo traditional surgery due to general health concerns), then radiation therapy may be considered. Radiation therapy’s are considered by many doctors as being less intrusive on a patient than traditional surgery.