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Mediastinal Staging

Mediastinal Staging

December 14, 2021
Emily Cassidy, MD
Emily Cassidy, MD

Cardiothoracic Surgery

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So we often use the term staging of the mediastinum to talk about how we’re going to investigate those lymph nodes to determine if we feel like they’re involved with the cancer or not. That has a huge impact on our treatment decision. So the way we do that, first, the PET scan. Oftentimes a PET scan will sort of point us again in one direction or another as to our level of concern with those lymph nodes. If a lymph node is lighting up on a PET scan, obviously it’s more concerning, but if a lymph node is not lighting up on a PET scan, that doesn’t definitively mean that it doesn’t have any cancer cells in it either. So based on a number of criteria, there may or may not be a role for a procedure to try and more fully understand whether those lymph nodes are involved in the cancer itself.