A diagnosis of lung cancer naturally causes some overwhelming emotions, but you don’t have to let those emotions get the best of you. Information is a powerful weapon against uncertainty and fear, and you can use this to your advantage. When you’re armed with plenty of accurate information, it’s much easier to make the educated decisions you need to make to achieve the best possible outcome with your treatment.
One of the first things you need to know before working with your doctor to develop a treatment plan for lung cancer is the stage — also known as the progression — of the disease. Learning about the stages of lung cancer can help you understand the terminology and how things like tumor size and tumor location — one lung, both lungs, other parts of the body — make a difference in your treatment approach.
In most cases, the chance of effective treatment is higher in the early stages versus the later stages of lung cancer, but it’s important to remember that every patient responds differently to the various treatments. Choosing the right treatment for your particular body and type of cancer will achieve the best results. Start by learning about the stages of lung cancer so you can fully understand your diagnosis.
Types of Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is actually a broad term for the two main types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. As the names suggest, the appearance of the cancer cells is the key difference between the two forms of the disease. When viewed under a microscope, malignant cells in small cell lung cancer are round and smaller than malignant cells in non-small cell lung cancer.
In terms of symptoms, both types of lung cancer have many of the same effects on the human body, but small cell lung cancers tend to cause fatigue and weight loss and spread more rapidly. As a result, the staging criteria for the two types of cancer are different.