What is the N Component of TNM Staging?
An important part of the staging for lung cancer is the N staging. The N stands for lymph nodes. That has a real impact on what stage the cancer then is and what the treatment options are that are available.
We have different stations of lymph nodes within the chest. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are all considered mediastinal lymph nodes, meaning that they’re more central in the chest. Unfortunately, sometimes lymph nodes can spread beyond the Hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes to other areas in the body. The most common being up here at the base of the neck, the supraclavicular lymph nodes. Those go beyond the N stage and bring you to an M 1 which translate to a stage four lung cancer.
The N stage can go from N1 to N2 to N3. N1 lymph nodes are the Hilar lymph nodes, which are more off to the sides and in the actual lung tissue. From there, it’ll move on to N 2, which is the mediastinal lymph nodes that are on the same side as the lung cancer. And then beyond that to N 3, which are also mediastinal lymph nodes, but on the opposite side of the chest from the lung cancer. They’re contralateral to the lung cancer.
1. An important part of the staging for lung cancer is the N staging.
2. The N stands for lymph nodes.
3. Lymph nodes affect the stage and treatment options.