Most patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are diagnosed with advanced cancer. These guidelines only include information about stage IV NSCLC. Patients with widespread metastatic disease (stage IV) are candidates for systemic therapy, clinical trials, and/or palliative treatment. The goal is to identify patients with metastatic disease before initiating aggressive treatment, thus sparing these patients from unnecessary futile treatment. If metastatic disease is discovered during surgery, then extensive surgery is often aborted. Decisions about treatment should be based on multidisciplinary discussion.

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