How is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated?

Updated: Aug 27, 2019
  • Author: Sat Sharma, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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NSCLC requires meticulous staging, because the treatment and prognosis vary widely depending on the stage. In non–small cell lung cancer, surgical resection offers patients the best chance for survival. Surgery may be curative for stage I and stage II disease; however, only a minority of patients (20-25%) have disease at these stages. Patients with stage IIIA disease may be candidates for surgical resection. In patients with stage IIIB disease, the tumors usually are considered unresectable. Patients with stage IV disease have distant metastases and are offered nonsurgical treatment, with the exception of rare cases of resectable solitary metastasis in a patient who also has a resectable primary lesion.

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