What Is The Lung Cancer Survival Rate


Lung cancer survival rate or the prognosis of lung cancer can be defined as the percentage of people suffering from a particular form of lung cancer and at a particular stage of the disease, who survive through the ailment for a specified, given period of time post being diagnosed. In medical literature, commonly we refer to a five year survival rate. The five year survival rate refers to the number of people living for 5 years once the cancer has been detected for the first time. A research study conducted has revealed that the five year lung cancer survival rate is 15%. It must be kept in mind that these survival rates are generalisations taking a large sample size. They are not adequate to predict the outcome of a particular case as the response to treatment is different across individuals.


There are a large number of variables that influence the survival rate of lung cancer:


  • The stage of the disease (how much has the cancer progressed)
  • The type of lung cancer one is inflicted with; this mainly includes small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer
  • Symptoms accompanying the cancer
  • The medical history of the patient and if he is currently suffering from any other disease.
  • Age may also be a contributing factor
  • If the cancer has been recently diagnosed or if it has made a recurring appearance


It must be noted that the stage of the cancer is influenced by its type. Small cell lung cancer has the following six stages:


  • Occult
  • Stage 1
  • Stage 2
  • Stage 3
  • Stage 4
  • Recurrent


Non-small cell lung cancer on the other hand, has three main stages:


  • Limited stage
  • Extensive stage
  • Recurrent


Lung cancer survival rates based on stage


  • If the cancer is detected in stage 0 that is the earliest stage, the five year survival rate of the patient is a heartening 80%. In this stage, it is found that the reach of the cancer is limited to the first cellular layer which gives treatment a fair chance at being successful
  • If diagnosis is made in the first stage of the disease, then the chances of living for 5 years or more fall to 50% as the disease is believed to have invaded deeper layers of tissue and affected a bigger area
  • The cancer is believed to have reached the lymph nodes in stage 2 and so chances slim down to 30% with forceful treatment
  • Between 5 and 15% are the figures for stage 3 wherein both lungs may be under attack
  • In the advanced stage 4, the cancer is unrelenting in its reach and the five year survival rate drops to 2 or 3%


There is a direct correlation between administration of surgical treatment and lung cancer survival rate. However, surgery is only a viable option if the cancer has been caught in a localised stage (a small number of cases fall under this category).


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