How do you determine what stage of cancer I have?

“Staging is a critical part of therapy,” says radiation oncologist Russell K. Hales, M.D. of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center on the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. “We don’t want to focus only on a tumor in the chest, for example, if there’s something growing in another area of the body. That’s why we fully stage a patient before we start therapy for lung cancer.”

Hales notes that stages are determined with tests such as a PET CT scan, a tumor biopsy, a brain MRI in selected patients, and with an endobronchial ultrasound, or EBUS, or a mediastinsocopy, to confirm whether there are lymph nodes in the chest.

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