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Before surgery can be performed, the extent of the cancer must be determined . This is referred to as staging. The stage of the cancer predicts the chance for survival after therapy. The less the cancer has spread, the greater the chance for long term survival.
Stage I cancer includes those tumors that are small and only are located in the tissue of one lung. This often includes tumors about the size of a golf ball. These are often referred to as nodules on x-ray. Surgery with this limited extent of disease can result in 80-90% cure rates.