Lung CancerLung Cancer Stages

Let's Talk About Lung Cancer Stages

If you’ve been diagnosed with this disease, the path your treatment will take depends on your cancer stage. Learn more about what each stage means, and how doctors determine where your cancer falls.

    Our Pro PanelLung Cancer Stages

    We went to some of the nation’s top experts in lung cancer to bring you the most up-to-date information possible.

    Jacob Sands, M.D.

    Jacob Sands, M.D.Thoracic Medical Oncologist and Instructor in Medicine

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School
    Boston, MA
    Elisabeth Dexter, M.D.

    Elisabeth Dexter, M.D.Thoracic Surgeon and Quality Assurance Officer for the Department of Thoracic Surgery

    Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
    Buffalo, NY
    Josephine (Joy) Feliciano, M.D. headshot.

    Josephine (Joy) Feliciano, M.D.Medical Oncologist, Assistant Professor of Oncology

    The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    Baltimore, MD

    Frequently Asked QuestionsLung Cancer Stages

    How does lung cancer spread?

    Cancer cells can break away from your initial tumor and travel to your lymph nodes. Once there, cancer cells multiply, forming new tumors. Additionally, cancer cells can leave your initial tumor and travel through your blood to form new tumors.

    Does my lung cancer stage determine my chance of survival?

    Not entirely. Although survival rates are generally grouped based on stage (a.k.a how far your cancer has spread), other factors affect your prognosis such as age, overall health, how well your cancer responds to treatment, and more.

    What is the most common stage to be diagnosed with lung cancer?

    About 80% of people of individuals are diagnosed at stage III or IV lung cancer, which can mean that the disease has already metastasized to other organs beyond the lungs.

    What is stage 0 lung cancer?

    Stage 0 lung cancer is also called lung carcinoma in situ, or pre-cancer. At this stage, lung cancer is present only in the top layer of cells of the bronchi, bronchioles or alveoli without reaching into the layers below.

    Holly Pevzner

    Holly Pevzner


    Holly Pevzner is a health writer whose work has appeared in many publications, including EatingWell and Prevention.