Lung Cancer Life Expectancy And Chances Of Recovery


Lung Cancer Life Expectancy And Chances Of Recovery

One of the most common types of cancerOpens in a new tab. is lung cancer (3Opens in a new tab.). Life expectancy and chances of recovery depend primarily on the type of tumour (1Opens in a new tab.) and how advanced it is (2Opens in a new tab.). In most cases, the prognosis is poor (6Opens in a new tab.) because it is detected very late (8Opens in a new tab.) and a cure is no longer possible (4Opens in a new tab.). With the right treatment (5Opens in a new tab.), however, the lifetime of many patients can at least be extended (7Opens in a new tab.). Here you can read everything important about lung cancerOpens in a new tab. – chances of recovery and life expectancy!

The ICD code for this condition is C34

lung cancer life expectancy

Lung cancer life expectancy: the statistics

Only rarely is lung cancerOpens in a new tab. curable: it is often only discovered when it is already very advanced. A cure is then usually no longer possible. Therefore, lung cancerOpens in a new tab. is the most common cause of cancer death in men and the second most common cause of cancer death in women.

The term survival rateOpens in a new tab. is used to describe life expectancy in lung cancer (or other serious diseases): Survival rates indicate the proportion of patients who are still alive after a certain period (such as 5 or 10 years). The data are from studies. These are average values: in general, they allow the life expectancy of a lung cancerOpens in a new tab. patient to be estimated. But they are not a reliable prediction of how long a patient will live. Many individual factors influence life expectancy (see below).

A distinction is made between absolute and relative survival rates: Absolute survival ratesOpens in a new tab. include all deaths in an observed patient group, including those from other causes. For example, if a lung cancerOpens in a new tab. patient dies of a sudden heart attack, this is still included in the calculation of the absolute survival rate.

In contrast, the relative survival rateOpens in a new tab. only takes into account those deaths in the patient group that are actually attributable to the disease under investigation (such as lung cancer). Relative survival ratesOpens in a new tab. therefore allow a more precise statement to be made about life expectancy in lung cancer:

Five years after the diagnosis of lung cancerOpens in a new tab., 15 percent of male patients and 20 percent of female patients are still alive. The same applies to the relative 10-year survival rateOpens in a new tab. for lung cancer: life expectancy for women is slightly higher than for men. Overall, lung cancerOpens in a new tab. has a poor prognosis.

What does life expectancy in lung cancer depend on?

The lung cancerOpens in a new tab. life expectancy of a patient depends mainly on two factors. On the one hand, the stage of the tumor at the time of diagnosis is decisive: in early stages of lung cancerOpens in a new tab., the chances of recovery and life expectancy are generally better than in more advanced stages.

On the other hand, the type of bronchial carcinomaOpens in a new tab. also influences life expectancy: lung cancer is divided into two large groups – small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). They proceed differently and also have different chances of healing.

Small cell lung cancer: Life expectancy

Small cell lung cancerOpens in a new tab. is less common than the non-small cell type, but more aggressive: without therapy, patients die on average within two to four months after diagnosis. The small cancer cells can divide very quickly. That is why this tumour is growing rapidly. In addition, it previously formed metastases in other regions of the body than non-small cell lung cancerOpens in a new tab.. Life expectancy and chances of recovery are therefore generally lower with this form of bronchial carcinoma.

This makes it all the more important to detect and treat small cell lung cancer as earlyOpens in a new tab. as possible. In very early stages, the tumour can sometimes still be removed surgically. Unfortunately, this is only true for very few patients.

In most patients, small cell lung cancerOpens in a new tab. has already spread too far in the body at the time of its discovery. Then an operation is usually no longer useful or possible. The most important therapeutic method is then chemotherapy (often combined with radiotherapy):

In most cases, the small cell lung cancerOpens in a new tab. initially responds well to this treatment. This is because the drugs are particularly effective on fast-growing cells, including cells of this form of lung cancerOpens in a new tab.. Survival chances and life expectancy can be slightly improved by treating many patients. In most cases, however, the tumour is only temporarily slowed down in its growth. After some time, the cancer cells usually spread again unchecked.

Non-small cell lung cancer: Life expectancy

Non-small-cell bronchial carcinomas are the most common form of malignant lung tumour. Physicians distinguish several subforms of non-small cell lung cancerOpens in a new tab.. However, the chances of recovery and life expectancy of these variants are comparable.

Non-small cell lung cancerOpens in a new tab. grows more slowly than small cell lung cancer. Daughter tumours (metastases) in other parts of the body only develop in advanced cancer stages. Therefore, life expectancy and chances of recovery are generally better in non-small cell lung cancerOpens in a new tab. than in the small cell type.

In about 25 to 30 percent of patients, surgery is the therapy of the first choice. If the tumour is already more advanced, patients are preferably treated with radiotherapy, possibly combined with chemotherapy. Sometimes additional surgery can be performed.

The survival rateOpens in a new tab. is the same as in small cell lung cancer: life expectancy and chances of recovery decrease as the tumour spreads. If it is smaller than three centimetres and neither lymph nodes are affected nor metastases are present, about 65 percent of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis. As soon as the first metastases have formed, the 5-year survival rateOpens in a new tab. drops to about one percent.

Other influencing factors

There are other factors that affect life expectancy in lung cancerOpens in a new tab. patients. These include, for example, the patient’s general state of health, tobacco consumption and any concomitant diseases (such as high blood pressureOpens in a new tab., heart disease, diabetes). The above table also shows that lung cancerOpens in a new tab. has a slightly better prognosis in women than in men.

Is lung cancer curable?

In principle, lung cancerOpens in a new tab. is curable, but only as long as all cancer cells can be completely removed or destroyed. This is usually only possible with surgery and possibly chemotherapy and/or radiationOpens in a new tab.. With chemotherapy or radiation alone, a permanent cure for lung cancerOpens in a new tab. is very rarely achieved.

Thus, the chances of recovery are mainly given to patients with a small tumour that has neither affected lymph nodes nor metastases. In more advanced stages of bronchial carcinoma, chemotherapy and radiation can often initially be used to suppress the disease. Sometimes this works so well that there is no longer any evidence of lung cancerOpens in a new tab.. But “healing” has not yet been achieved in such cases. Instead, one speaks of remission, i.e. a temporary decrease. This is because in most patients the lung cancerOpens in a new tab. returns after some time.

Can patients increase their lung cancer life expectancy?

Anyone who discovers possible signs of lung cancerOpens in a new tab. in themselves should consult a doctor immediately. The earlier the diagnosis is made and therapyOpens in a new tab. are started, the better the life expectancy and chances of recovery from lung cancer. This means: even in the case of unspecific and supposedly harmless symptoms such as coughingOpens in a new tab., slight fever and fatigue, consult a doctor. Heavy smokers, in particular, should pay attention to such complaints and seek medical clarification at an early stage.

Moreover, lung cancerOpens in a new tab. patients should eat a balanced and healthy diet. This strengthens the general state of health and supports the healing process. The same applies to regular exercise and sport. People who are physically active also increase their quality of life and well-being.

For smokers, experts have another particularly important tip: Stop smoking! Some patients think..: “It’s too late now anyway – I’ve already got lung cancer!” However, lung cancer life expectancy and chances of recovery can be increased by stopping smoking.

Scientific standards

This text complies with the requirements of medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by medical experts.

ICD codes are internationally valid codes for medical diagnoses. They can be found, for example, in doctor’s letters or on certificates of incapacity to work.

 

 

Sandra Eades

Hello I am Sandra Eades, physician, researcher and author from Australia. I am working currently as researcher for a private institution. I have studied in Britain and Australia, where I currently reside. I write about research topics in the organization of the public health government agencies. For the iMS I write about general medical conditions. I also research scholar sources to provide information to writers of other articles. I also check the citations of scholar papers. Finally, I read other articles before they are published. I am also a mother of three children!

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