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I believe the primary staging is a conservative "estimate" on what can be seen from the outside. Upon further inspection, mets to lymph nodes that were not suspected can be picked up...a different scan can show the tumor being more involved with the lungs, etc. Staging is done by size, location, mets and involvement... Other numbers you may see are in the format of T#N#M#. The number following the letters gives a more detailed description of what is being seen.

Of course, restaging doesn't always have to be the sky falling, it could be seeing that what was thought to be a huge malignant tumor really isn't...

Any help?


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Unfortunately staging is usually not 100% accurate. Sometimes people have a PET scan and it will have a false negative or false positive.

Just like CT scans and biopsys - they are never 100% accurate

People are also restaged after successful treatment. Going from stage III to Stage I or II.

And like snowflake said, you might be given a stage I diagnosis at first but a biopsy reveals that the nodule is benign so no cancer

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