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Dr. Wakelee on Using Lymph Nodes for Lung Cancer Staging

Heather Wakelee, MD
Published: Monday, Oct 10, 2011

Heather Wakelee, MD, assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Stanford University, Stanford Clinical Cancer Center, describes the importance of lymph nodes for staging lung cancer.

Wakelee explains that tumor specific features and metastasis can be identified after surgery. Lymph nodes removed during surgery are the most accurate way to determine the stage of the lung cancer, despite many non-invasive methods gaining in popularity.

At this point there is not an adequate amount of nodal dissection taking place, only a few mediastinal nodes are being removed. In many cases dissecting a few extra nodes may mean the difference between confirming a stage I diagnosis and a stage III.

Heather Wakelee, MD, assistant professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Stanford University, Stanford Clinical Cancer Center, describes the importance of lymph nodes for staging lung cancer.

Wakelee explains that tumor specific features and metastasis can be identified after surgery. Lymph nodes removed during surgery are the most accurate way to determine the stage of the lung cancer, despite many non-invasive methods gaining in popularity.

At this point there is not an adequate amount of nodal dissection taking place, only a few mediastinal nodes are being removed. In many cases dissecting a few extra nodes may mean the difference between confirming a stage I diagnosis and a stage III.


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