The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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STAGING QUESTING -Should my group staging be changed again - might make me feel better a bit at least - but a,genuine question too for hope

I was originally graded as T2a, N1, N0. Pre my left lower lobectomany in September. THey said the approach would be "radical" They suspected 2-3 lymph nodes were affected and as well as the lower left lobectomy , they ,with another 14-15 other sites were removed and all found to be clear - great news indeed. THe tumour was 3.7 with "very good margins" (what does that mean even?). THis meant that I was now T2a, N0 and M0. HOwvwr now I am now reading about grouping stages and I think according to T2a N0and MO I am now graded in grouping stages terms as Stage 1b overall. WOuld this be correct?. I know it's silly when we all have bigger stuff to contemplate but it would help me to know. I am receiving no chemo or radiation and this site was very helpful in clarifying this and given me co fidence to really go through this with my one with my one meeting with the oncologist who said "it could actually do a bit of harm rather than good," according to evidence for my precise situation. NOw I a, wondering g about what my overall "staging is" . THanks all.

4 Replies

Hi there,

I was diagnosed in June 2014 and was graded as T2a, N3, M0 and was staged as 3b.

I have had chemo, radiotherapy and surgery since diagnosis (lobectomy) - and I asked the same question of my oncologist. He advised that I am still Stage 3b and I wouldn't be regraded any earlier stage. Like you, I thought it would be nice and would be a sign of improvement. I think for clinical reasons it stays at the stage it was diagnosed as a minimum so they can determine if there is anything likely to be circulating etc.

My scans have all been clear since surgery last summer so I have put the grading out of my mind (in fact had to ask my husband to remind me what I was graded at originally for this reply!). I completely understand where you are coming from but from my experience they won't change your staging.

Just know that you are doing well and forget the numbers is my advice!

Good luck xxx

1 like

Hi Hopeforthebest

It sounds like very good news following your surgery.

You should discuss your overall staging with your oncologist at your next clinic visit and specifically how the stages are interpreted following your surgery and what the implications for treatment are. I have enclosed a link discussing staging.

It is important to point out that everyone is different and no doctor can predict how well you will react to treatment based on the stage of your illness.

Very good margins sound encouraging. I have included a link explaining lung cancer pathology reports.

SURGICAL MARGIN: describes either the outer edge of the nodule or tumor or the outer edges of a section of tissue after surgery. How the margins look can help determine treatment options. Negative or clean marginssuggest no cancer cells were found at edge of

the tissue, suggesting that all of the cancer has been removed. Whereas positive or involved margins suggest cancer cells were found at the edge of the tissue, suggesting that all of the cancer has not been removed.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes,

All the team at Roy Castle Helpline


Thank you so much for this. The link on staging is very helpful. I hope I haven't confused my own question here. I am talking about the difference between TNM staging and Number staging. I know with TNM I was T2 (3.7 tumour so smaller than the 4 when adjuvant chemo is recommended) N0 and M0. Understand that bit. Then on the "number staging" section it says that this is stage 1b ie that those numbers (tumour less than 5cm etc) slot it into that number - or am I reading it wrong? They do refer tony situation as @early stage" but havent used the number stage yet. I can ask the surgeon/onc but would love to get input in the meantime. Thanks x


Yes your interpretation is correct, number 1b refers to cancers between 3-5 cm.

Kind regards,


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