Stage one lung cancer means that your cancer is only in your lungs and has not started to spread to your lymph nodes. Surgery to remove the cancer is considered the gold standard for stage one lung cancer, says Dr. Joseph Friedberg, Head of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The definitive staging takes place after your surgery. Once the cancer is removed and your doctors take a closer look at your lymph nodes and confirm they are cancer-free, you are officially done with lung cancer treatment, although you will be monitored closely for signs of a recurrence.
Not everyone who is diagnosed with stage one lung cancer is an appropriate candidate for surgery, says Dr. Friedberg. For individuals with stage one cancer who can’t have surgery because of underlying health conditions, the current standard of care is stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which directs extremely high doses of radiation to the tumor and minimizes the dose to nearby structures, reducing the risk of damage to healthy organs.
There are several types of lung cancer surgery, and the decision about which is best is based largely on the location of your cancer, its size and whether it has started to spread.
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