We all know that there are many stages of lung cancer and you might be wondering how each stage is like and what are the survival rates of each stage. But before we get into that let’s quickly check few important things you need to know.
Survival rates have different statistics and it varies from person to person based on various factors. The survival rate may increase or decrease based on these factors. They can be completely inaccurate and misleading sometimes, yet let’s check them.
What Is Survival Rate?
It is the measure of number of people who stay alive with lung cancer after some certain time period. For example, 5 year survival rate of 40% means 40% of the patients suffering with lung cancer live for or more than 5 years.
Physicians use the term “median survival” as well for lung cancer which is the amount of time at which 50% of the patients have died and the remaining are alive.
These survival rates are statistics and doesn’t give accurate estimate of how long a patient can survive with lung cancer. There are other factors to be considered such as health, race, gender and other treatments used.
Moreover, smoking cessation seems to improve survival rate in the patients with early stage non-small cell lung cancer and those with small cell lung cancer.
Accuracy of Survival Rates
Though many do not show interest to know the statistics but some people want to know based on the type of lung cancer and the stage. The accuracy of these statistics vary based on few things which can be done to raise the odds and these things are other than surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Such things increase the survival rates.
Let’s Put The Numbers In Perspective
You must know that the survival rates are improving with time and this isn’t a false hope. In past 40 years the survival rates of lung cancer budged little.
The good news is in 2016 the survival rate for stage 4 has doubled and this is all because of newer and better drugs and their categories to fight this cancer.
Factors Affecting Survival Rates
There are plenty of factors that affect the survival rates of lung cancer.
- Age: Lung cancer survival rate is better in younger people compared to older people. Young people are diagnosed at higher stage of lung cancer than older people.
- Gender: Women usually have a better prognosis than men with lung cancer at all the stages of this disease.
- Race: Lung cancer survival rate is usually lower among African Americans than Caucasian or Asian.
- Medical Conditions: Patients with other medical conditions like heart disease or lung disease have less survival rate than those with no serious health conditions.
- Response To The Treatment: Those who are able to tolerate the treatments have higher survival rate than those who find it difficult to tolerate.
- Lung Cancer Complications: There are many lung cancer complications some of which can reduce the survival rate.
- Smoking: If continued smoking can reduce the survival rate of the patient while increasing the complications from chemotherapy, targeted therapies, surgery and radiation therapy.
Survival Rates By Types of Lung Cancer
- Small Cell Lung Cancer: The 5 year survival rate for small cell lung cancer is just 6% which is very low.
- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: The 5 year survival rate for non-small cell lung cancer for all the stages is about 18% only.
- Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma (BAC): This is now considered as a type of lung adenocarcinoma. The survival rate of BAC is better than many other non-small cell lung cancers especially in the early stages. As per a study, those who got diagnosed with BAC had tumors less than 3 cm in diameter had 5 year survival rate of 100%.
Survival rate By Stages of Lung Cancer
- Stage 1 – Non – Small Cell Lung Cancer: The 5 year survival rate for stage 1A is 49% and for stage 1B is 45%.
- Stage 2 – Non – Small Cell Lung Cancer: The 5 year survival rate for stage 2A is 30% and for 2B is 30%.
- Stage 3A – Non – Small Cell Lung Cancer: The 5 year survival rate for stage 3A is 14% but this again varies from one type of cancer to another.
- Stage 3B – Non – Small Cell Lung Cancer: The 5 year survival rate for stage 3 B is only 5%. The median survival time with treatment is about 13 months.
- Stage – 4 – Non – Small Cell Lung Cancer (Metastatic): The 5 year survival rate for stage 4 is unfortunately just 1 to 2%. Those who are lucky enough belong to this 1 to 2% of population. The median survival time is around 8 months.
- Small Cell Lung Cancer: The 5 year survival rate for both the stages of this lung cancer is as low as 6%. If not treated the average life expectancy for this disease is 2 to 4 months and if treated it is 6 to 12 months.
Survival rates are just statistics and it varies from person to person. It is only a prediction based on past studies but with newer treatments these are only improving and the numbers keep changing. There are long term survivors who have taken utmost care of their health and did everything in their hands to increase their lifespan. So, there is still hope.