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Lung cancer staging involves assessing the extent to which lung cancer has spread from its point of origin. As with most cancers, staging is an important determinant of treatment and prognosis.
Nearly half of all lung cancer cases also include disease in the mediastinum—the space between the lungs that contains the heart and its large veins and arteries, the trachea, the esophagus, the bronchi, and lymph nodes. There are a number of different tools or methods available to help determine the extent to which the disease has spread. One of the most valuable techniques is mediastinoscopy.
Mediastinoscopy is an operation in which a thoracic surgeon makes a small incision just above the patient's sternum. A mediastinoscope is inserted through this incision and used for viewing and/or biopsying lymph nodes that surround the trachea.
This information is provided by the Department of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.